Following on from our project in Four Acre, Phil and I have been asked to run some workshops for a group of staff from Care Homes and Day Centres in St Helens.
From my point of view what I wanted was the up-skilling of staff who deliver art activities in homes and day centres, and the raising of the bar in the area of creativeness with the overall purpose of giving the service users the feeling of well being.
The feedback I have got from the participants have been very positive indeed. They are enjoying the pace and the atmosphere of the sessions and are liking meeting other people from similar working environments who they can share not only ideas with but practices as well. The staff enjoyed the card making session and also the discussion about art and its role in well-being.
I believe that your sessions are more than meeting my goal.
Each of our workshop sessions had a different theme, the first looking at Felt Making and how it could be used with participants with a wide range of different skills and abilities.
The second was a look at how we can use Art Postcards in participatory arts, for example adapting the picture and its meaning with paint, collage or scratching. We also used the art cards to start a discussion about engagement with art, or what might be called art appreciation. For this workshop I was inspired by the work done by MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art, New York) who have done some wonderful work with people diagnosed with Dementia engaging them with their collection. There are some very useful free downloadable PDFs from their website.
The third week we investigated embroidery and how it could be used with participants. I invited people to look at embroidered samplers for inspiration, and to try out some ideas for themselves. (pictured in this blog) The room fell silent as the group got totally absorbed in the activity. Like many of the older people we work with in hospital or care homes, many of this group hadn't done any embroidery since school and it came as a revelation. Many of the group left with their samples in hand, explaining they were off to do more at home. Another very satisfying day.