Tuesday 22 September 2009

Young People from Birmingham Children's Hospital exhibit their artwork at Artsfest 09

Last summer I led various feltmaking projects for young people in mental health wards in Birmingham Children’s Hospital. The workshops were received so enthusiastically by the participants that I was asked to take part in the project again this summer.

Here's a quote from a member of staff at Playtrain , “The whole atmosphere within the ward changed as soon as Kirsty arrived. There was an air of enthusiasm and very definitely a positive energy.”

I feel proud of the work that I have been able to teach and empower the young people to make. The three wards all have patients with different health issues and therefore different levels of concentration, self esteem, and desire to participate.

Finished felted wallhanging made by young people on Ward 3. The design was based on scenes from an imaginary computer game. See their plans for the design below.

Last year we made these fantastic felted football glove puppets, cushions, bangles and wall-hangings and this year we made two splendid wall-hangings, flowers and mini-beasts.

It was even more exciting for the young people as their work was exhibited as part of Artsfest (the UK’s largest free arts festival in Birmingham). It was also exhibited at BVSC: Centre for Voluntary Action, Birmingham over a 4 month period and now much of the work is on permanent display within the hospital.

I’m also really happy to say that some items have been kept by the young people; that special cushion to cuddle, those really cool puppets to play with and those beautiful flowers to embellish handbags and jackets (so in fashion at the moment!) Feedback from staff is that these items are significant in raising the young people’s sense of self-worth and achievement

Fluffy wool fibres laid out to make an underwater sea scene.
And here is the hanging framed and on display in the Council House as part of Artsfest 09.

Here's one of the felted animals made by one of the young people at Birmingham Children's Hospital last summer.

Artsfest is a fantastic weekend to chill out in Birmingham. Listen to a huge variety of music, watch dance and drama performances, try some drop in craft workshops and also buy hand made items by local artists and crafts people.

Here’s Jamie Lewis, a friend, and very talented felter. Even as a felter myself I have bought some of Jamie’s mega cute felted animals. I would never attempt to replicate Jamie’s animals as we all have different felting styles no two feltmakers can make identical work.

No comments: