Tuesday, 28 October 2008


Just a quick post today, thought this was a very moving poem.

Relief, yeah relief relief
very much so
a medication to ease
then you can carry on
marring the pain
a blanket over

when you get the pain
you drop right down

say your standing on a stepladder
then you drop
take the medication
and your back on the ladder

17th October 2008
(Cherry Tree Hospital Ward A10)

Illustration ‘pills’ © 2008 Lois Blackburn www.loisblackburn.co.uk

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Friday 17th October

A great session, some revealing reminiscences shared, some poignant poetry made, Phil will be putting finishing touches to next week….

Our best wishes are for Joyce, who we had the privilege to interview a few weeks back. She had a fall last week and is quite poorly. We all hope she is feeling better soon.

Medical poetry

On Friday morning with Phil back from Berlin, we worked with older people at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, creating poetry about medication. It was a revealing session, with patients terribly sad stories of pain and their honesty in regard to their experiences of their hospital stay. Below is an example of one of the poems…


It’s hard at first to take painkillers
but you get used after a while
and you take them for peace sake
and it helps you to get back to your act

You’ve always been used to not having them
you’d never been poorly at all
and then you started to be ill
never missed a day in your life

Just keep trying and trying: finally you do
couldn’t swallow them quick enough
and so you become a singer and a dancer
happy as a sunboy now

Emily Thyme
17th October 2008

for more examples please visit www.arthur-and-martha.co.uk

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Hospital life: visual representation

I’m really enjoying being back working in a hospital, it has its challenges, but big rewards to. We’re constantly thinking about different ways to record life and patient experience visually there, such as the project ‘a wee star coming through.’ A couple of years ago I created drawings of some of the patients, as seen here.

I’m also discovering other artists investigating sickness, health and wellbeing. Yesterday I was pointed to the work of Deborah Padfield who has been finding a visual language for pain. You can find a fascinating and moving article at http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1123127

drawing © Lois Blackburn please visit www.loisblackburn.co.uk for more information

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Friday 10th October, printmaking

In the afternoon at The Morris Feinmann Home, I explored with workshop participants, two techniques, mono printing and foam board printing. Working on portrait images and words of hope, participants created a wonderful collection of prints.

Fennings little Lung Healers

Friday 10th October
Phil’s off in Berlin on a fact finding mission, I was back at Stepping Hill Hospital, with the intention of doing some memory drawings of medicine containers. Unfortunately finding reference material was harder than I thought (although just rediscovered my Robert Opie books which will be a help) and participants preferred to talk than draw… We had a great reminiscence session about medicines of the 30s, 40s and 50s, including Virol, Malt extract, Rosehip Syrup, Zinc and caster oil, Goose Grease, Syrup of Figs, ‘If your supposed to be stuck,
every Friday night a spoonful, called it Figgy Wigs. Wouldn’t have it unless a sweet came after.'
Bread Poultice, Fennings little Lung Healers, Yeast tablets, Dr Somebodies kidney pills, Mrs Evan’s Sticky whatever, Cod liver oil, Fiery Jack and Camphorated Oil......

Photo of Teresa Lawson © Lois Blackburn 2008, more photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthur-and-martha/

Wednesday, 8 October 2008


On Friday we had a gathering of material for the project Bring Light Towards You. We used the Maya Escobar questionnaire once more as a launch pad for discussion about Jewishness. The answers reflected a wide understanding of the range of experiences of being Jewish - from atheism to regular observance.

Photo of Myra © Lois Blackburn 2008, more photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthur-and-martha/

Friday, 3 October 2008

Illustrated medical dictionary (pilot)

3rd October Stepping Hill Hospital.
Today we started a new pilot project, with older people at Stepping Hill Hospital, with the working title of ‘illustrated medical dictionary’ after a late start, (due to conditions on the ward) we pitched into a creative, productive, high spirited workshop. Alice, Gladys and Violet, produced a stream of reminiscence and observation about life in hospital. From this material we selected short statements to be handwritten and formed into badges.

A truly delightful session. It opened up lots of new themes, themes such as doctors, medicines, home remedies, old fashioned medication and the attitude of survival…

Photo of Violet Gamble © Lois Blackburn 2008, more photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthur-and-martha/