New Beginnings Exhibition by Members of The Living Tree 12-13 September 2015

I have been working with the Living Tree on and off since February this year. It’s a larger group than I would normally work with, but not every member joins in every art session. I have worked with groups providing art sessions for many years, although have only begun to do so formally over the past eighteen months.

It is helpful for people struggling with an illness to be creative in a safe environment. Being imaginative with words, music or art materials not only provides a distraction, but also can also help the healing or palliative process and helps people to become more confident and giving them time to talk, enabling some to control anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. The distraction can help to take one’s mind off pain or discomfort, and fulfilling small tasks assists in a feeling of positivity and accomplishment. Much of the work in the exhibition has been created working with other artists and creative groups.

The members of the Living tree group demonstrate through mixed media, the link between illness and everyday life. Making a hat (for example) is not just about learning the process of felting and providing a sense of achievement, but also coming to terms with losing your hair. Doing something constructive whilst having fun has been found to be really motivating.

As you walk around this exhibition, please take time to read the small notes next to some artist’s work. These small notes talk about the process of making the work and conveys the benefits and positive (sometimes empowering) impact the creative process had on the artists.

The work in this exhibition explores the theme ‘New Beginnings’. A new beginning can be a new metaphorical door to step through, facing something big or wonderful or a fight with an illness. It can also be related to an infant or the buds on a flower. The group members share a passion for creativity, be it gardening, knitting and sewing, writing or painting and drawing. This exhibition explores those passions and celebrates the wonderful work that can be produced, even when facing difficulties.

Bridget Townsend

Arts Sessions coordinator & Curator