I have always had an interest and an ability in the arts, specifically visual art, and my degree was titled FINE ART IN SOCIAL CONTEXT, which actually means public and community art, for a purpose. I was often told painting pretty pictures does not pay the bills, and so I took jobs in a homeless hostel, in accommodation for the mentally unwell, and eventually trained to be a teacher, and settled down to my ‘proper job’, life continued until a new baby meant I resigned from secondary teaching and taught in a local men’s prison for 3 years, a journey which came to an abrupt close when several things both at work and home collided and I experienced burn out/a breakdown what ever you wish to call it.
I completely stopped functioning, and it has since reminded me of a guy called Roger who I’d met in the homeless hostel. He had told his story of how he had been a systems analyst, a well paid job, detached home etc, when in the space of 3 months a redundancy had led to marriage breakdown, had led to homelessness, had led to us meeting. And he said “what most people don’t realise is how easily 1 thing leads to a domino effect, and before you know it you are on the scrap heap” Well my moment on the scrap heap showed me what it is like to be in crisis, how much of a struggle it can be to walk out the front door and interact with the world,
My marriage break up showed me how much I need practical and emotional support, how much I need grounding activities that engage my thoughts and bring my senses alive, and ultimately how I could overcome the shame I had felt and gently with kindness rebuild me into my authentic self. And what I did was to look at what I naturally did, such as use my creativity, have a heightened social conscience, tell the truth/keep it real, and create beauty. Beauty in my environment, in my sense of self, and ultimately recognising the beauty of my journey to self management and mental wellness. So what I did was to set up C&P, complete an art therapy foundation diploma, which enabled me to have confidence into why art works therapeutically and how to hold a space with a group in it.
Create & Prosper workshops CIC began very slowly in Oct 17 and has grown, as I have over the last 2 years. SSE has helped me in many ways but gaining 2 Directors and becoming a community interest company has been key. Create & Prosper benefits the community by increasing understanding of the Art for wellbeing process and the benefits that brings to individuals.. Which means; offering support – through a group experience Offering learning – and making, for positive achievements Enabling individuals – to gain skills and personal growth And additionally for some, who have experienced some life trauma, we offer the time and space for overcoming self doubt, and shame in order to see people gently, with kindness, rebuilding their authentic selves also.