|A sneak preview of one of the countryside inspired felted pictures made during our day in the Peak District.|
Borderland Voices, the Leek-based Community Arts for Health and Mental Wellbeing charity is an amazing organisation!
When I first read about it and the work that it has done over the past 16 years I knew that I wanted to work with them if at all possible. Based in Leek in Staffordshire their lovely bright art room is haven for anyone who is suffering from any form of mental distress as it is a place where they can regularly spend time on creative activities.
|The art room (previously a vegetable shop) has a deep bay window which they use for an ever changing exhibition of creativity.|
Andy Collins is the coordinator at Borderland Voices and working with her was a real pleasure. Andy devised a way that we could make the felting activity, that I had proposed, a full day and also a very special offsite activity in the heart of the Peak District National Park. Firstly she linked with Rethink Mental Illness in Leek so that some of their service users could also take part and next she devised a plan where our felting day could be part of 'A Breath of Fresh Air' (a project part funded by Ecominds and the Peak Park’s Sustainable Development Fund)
Fresh air, exercise, being in the countryside and creativity often go together but it is certain that they each contribute to a better sense of wellbeing and can definitely contribute to improved mental health.
Andy booked a minibus and planned the creative trip to The Dove Valley Centre in Sheen.
I drove up from Lichfield and wow what wonderful scenery! We had an enthusiastic group of fourteen, including Andy, Elspbeth from Dove Valley Centre and also our minibus driver.
|The fresh air and scenery was inspirational|
|A poem was written on the day too.|
No one had made hand-made felt at all before so after soaking up the scenery and a cup of tea we got started by making some pre-felt.
The rubbing motion is rhythmical and always relaxes people
|Some hand-spun jacob wool yarn used here. (photo by Andy Collins)|
|A good use of shapes cut from pre-felt for this design|
As we were part funded by the Peak Park’s Sustainable Development Fund we were aiming to take our inspiration from the countryside around us. Even though we were working indoors this was still easy as the barn studio is upstairs and so we had a clear view from the windows.
|You can almost feel you are out in the wide open countryside here|
|Really colourful and with a couple of sheep on the horizon too|
|This man is a keen amateur photographer and decided to play with inverting colours.|
|This creative lady took inspiration from some geraniums in pots in Dove Valley Centre courtyard. She is a keen card maker and applied her design skills to felting.|
|Me (Kirsty E Smith) admiring everyone's felted pictures. (photo by Andy Collins)|