the magic of making

An article about the benefits of drawing and painting in hospitals…

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Teachers JPDD day at the Booth museum

Today I spent an interesting morning amongst a group of lively creative teachers in the Booth museum. I was running a workshop for the JPDD day which I have been fortunate enough to do for the past two years. As Fabrica is undergoing renovations I was invited to run it at the Booth which was an interesting space to work in.

As I was away from my usual store of workshop paraphernalia I focussed the workshop on application of ingenuity with the use of very basic materials to create a diorama based on the Booth vitrines.
I wanted people to really look inside the vitrines at victorian taxidermy and the atmosphere and context of the contents. The museum told us that people come from far and wide to view this collection because of its unique historic scientific interest. Interestingly Booth was a pioneer of natural history and one of the first victorians to look at animals within their habitats rather than out of context as prize objects. (Although whichever way you look at it it always seems to end in death.)
Anyway the teachers seized the opportunity with their usual generosity and spirit of exploration, wandering around the museum making drawings, taking notes and talking about contemporary issues instigated by what they saw. They worked in small groups together to create some fabulous vitrines of their own exploring ecology, waste, juxtapositions of animal physiognomy and victorian iron work, growth, life, death, hunting and freedom. Below are some pictures of ingenuity with cardboard, paper and graphite with a bit of masking tape thrown in… and thanks to the Booth for their hospitality.


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a perfect storm

After the wind died down and the dust began to settle, an important thought occurred in relation to my drawing residency. Despite trying to keep to a project schedule of evaluation and feedback the effects of good supportive experiences in the arts are not immediately apparent in their full glory. Personally I take time to think and register repercussions, effects and changes in response to things that have a big impact on me. I need to re-calibrate, match the thoughts against other experiences, measure and watch differences in my approach. A year after the end of my residency, almost to the day, I am only now understanding the insight it has given me on what I do and how I do it. Its only today that the most appropriate and explanatory response occurred to me while trying to describe my own particular thought process while planning my workshops to a friend. Now I can get on and do it properly.

I felt the need to blog this if only in celebration of slow consideration and thoughtfulness in the face of current trends to respond reactively.


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Bound to draw

I just found some delicious photographs from my archive of workshop and drawing photos. They come from a mentoring session on running workshops during 2014 during my residency focussed on drawing.




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A really enjoyable breakfast with 28 people drawing to Akira Kurosawa’s DREAMS this morning at Fabrica, the time went so quickly I could have done it over again.
“Dreams” is a strange narrative split into eight tales which are really comments on and observations about humanity, a bit like a sequence of moral tales. The dreams: Sunshine through the Rain, The Peach Orchard, The Blizzard, The Tunnel, Crows, Mount Fuji in Red, The weeping Demon and Village of Watermills are very theatrically shot as with a lot of Kurosawa films, it is said to be like ‘no’ theatre in particular. They covered everything from the evils of nuclear power, through care for others, down into hell and then finishing with the joy of life well lived.
It was a great film to draw to, there were many inventive and exciting drawings.
People left some very positive comments:
“inspiring and thought provoking” “uplifting, creative” “good shared experience” “liberating” “thought-provoking, wonderful, deep” “it was good because it involved drawing in company” “luminous, flow, freedom” challenging, fun, different” “intense” “immersive, wow” ” drawing to film is better because it’s more interactive and creative”
I will post some more photos as soon as I download my camera… watch this space.










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