A message from Creative Minds re’ Coronavirus & Art Activity Boxes
As the coronavirus situation escalates we want to reassure you of our full support and understanding during this difficult and concerning time. As many of you are aware, immediate steps have been taken by our clients, especially the care sector to restrict visitors in order to protect the most vulnerable people in our society. These measures are absolutely necessary to ensure the protection and safety of our vulnerable population across the country.
However in times of restriction and isolation the importance of activities and stimulation becomes ever more apparent. Their importance to peoples health and wellbeing cannot be understated, whether it’s music, arts & crafts, poetry, sowing, other crafts or forms of entertainment.
In light of the restrictive measures implemented across the country, in particular in the care sector we as a community of artists have been working hard to develop ‘Art Activity Boxes’.
Our Art Activity Boxes contain accessible pre-planned sessions with all the art mediums, materials and equipment required, which can be delivered straight to your doorstep.
The Art Activity Boxes are priced at £35 each (based on one session plan) and can be delivered on a monthly/weekly basis.
*Please be aware that this is dependent on where our artists are located and we may not be able to deliver to you if you are too far away*
Thank you for your support and we wish all of our clients the very best. We’ll get through this together!
5 Christmas Craft Ideas you can try yourself!
Our artists have been running some beautiful Christmas-themed art sessions over the years, which are super-simple for people of all abilities to try with incredibly effective results!
Here are five great examples of sessions that took place, which you could easily try at home!
Bleeding Tissue Paper Christmas Trees
These pretty colourful wintery scenes were created at Ladywell Convent in Godalming with CM Artist Julie. The backgrounds were formed using bleeding tissue paper techniques, where squares of tissue paper are applied, dampened with water, then lifted to reveal vibrant prints. Simple tree silhouettes were then painted over them and white acrylic sponged over the floor for snow. Snowflakes were added in paint for the finishing touch.
Festive lanterns were created by residents at Belmore Lodge Care Home in Lymington with CM Artist Karen using rolled laminated A4 sheets. Strips of tissue paper in festive shades were layered inside the sheets, with pretty Christmas embellishments included to give that festive feel. They looked great all lit up with LED tea lights!
These contemporary Christmas wreathes were created by residents at Glenholme Care Home in Sunderland with CM Artist Lily. Recycled toilet roll tubes were cut and folded to form the floral patterns, which were then painted with acrylics and attached to card rings. Gems were added to the centre of each flower for some extra sparkle and Christmas ribbon was tied onto the bottom.
Wooden Christmas Tree Decorations
This jolly Christmas display was created by residents at
Aldersgate Retirement Flats in Nuneaton with CM Artist Alison. Residents
painted onto pre-cut wooden triangles to form their own little forest of
festive creations. We love each unique design, with some painted as Santa,
others as Christmas trees, and texture added to some as snow. The variety
really adds to the charm, and they look wonderful on display.
These wintery collages formed Christmas Card designs for
residents at Beechwood Grove Care Home in Eastbourne with CM Artist Sarah.
Residents enjoyed working with a variety of different textured wallpaper, which
they layered to form the snowy landscapes. They then used drops of paint onto
coffee filters to add some colour to the trees. Silhouettes of trunks and
branches were cut out and added at the end.
We’d love to see your creations too maybe using some of our Christmas Craft ideas above. Tag us into any pictures you share on Social Media with @creativemindsan we’d love to see them!
Enjoy getting creative this Christmas!
‘The Museum of Things That Don’t Stand Still’ – Creative Minds at the Tate Exchange
We were sad to see the end of our 3-day project at the Tate Exchange which ran 15th – 17th May in collaboration with MA students from the University of Westminster. The project was themed around “movement” in response to the current exhibition at The Tate Modern by Jenny Holzer. This has inspired the project to explore ideas surrounding migration, flight and reflect on the way in which we all move through life. The project brought together a diverse range of people, young and old to explore their creativity and add their own piece of art to our interactive installation “The Museum of Things That Don’t Stand Still.”
In the run up to the event at the Tate Exchange, the students joined a number of our artists for their sessions, and created pieces of work as a starting point for the installation. Delicate origami birds were created during these sessions, plus piles of pretty hand-crafted flowers. We gained access to the venue at the beginning of the week, and all hands were on deck. CM Artists worked hard with the students, and the installation began to take shape ready for the project to open to the public on Wednesday the 15th May.
A number of our clients joined us for the event, and people visiting the gallery dropped in to take part. They had the option to create feathers to add to our giant wings, Percy the peacock, or flowers and leaves to add to a walk-through passage.
Alternatively people could come and create their own pair of
super-powered shoes. Imaginations ran wild as people had fun deciding on ways
in which they could power them up!
Participant Derek Kingsleigh said: “It’s an incredible
place with all the our flowers and leaves we made. You did so much with the
space. I’m not just impressed I’m very very impressed.”
Christine, aged 102 really got stuck in and left the session
saying: “Amazing, I’ve had a wonderful time. I’ll come again!”
By the close of the event at the Tate Exchange, you could walk down a colourful passage beautifully decorated with flowers and birds. Percy the grand peacock stood proud and tall with beautifully decorated feathers in his train. Our open wings sculpture looked vibrant, with all the pretty feathers participants added to it. The finished display of super-powered shoes looked remarkable, and included shoes that allowed you to explore the galaxy, bring light into people’s lives, shoes that spread happiness and shoes which meant they could live that day again at the Tate!
We loved each individual’s unique and imaginative take on
Our artists thoroughly enjoyed themselves too…
“It was so wonderful to see people connecting while making.
People who’d never met before from all over the world! It gave them a space to
play, contemplate and be in the moment.” Sarah Jane
“This was another example of how art elevates humanity. I
got a huge satisfaction from seeing participants so profoundly happy to be
creating art in such an amazing setting.” Hanna
What a thoroughly uplifting experience, which brought
together people from all walks of life to enjoy the benefits that communal
creative activities can bring.
At the end of the day CM Community Manager Sarah, who has been project managing the event, received this heart-warming feedback from one attendees: “I was so deeply moved by today’s event. Combining creativity, art, imagination and giving to others. It was extraordinary! You should feel extremely good and at peace in your heart.”
Our Community Meeting, March 2019
We had another beautiful sunny day for our spring Community Meeting. Twice a year our passionate artists travel from across the UK to come together for a day of creativity, networking, sharing ideas, company news and updates plus a chance to catch up with old friends.
The day began with a fun ice-breaker, where Community Development Manager Sarah encouraged everyone to write down the answers to 5 questions about themselves on a piece of paper. She then got everyone to fold it into a paper airplane and launch it across the room. Each artist had to retrieve the one that landed closest to them, and discover who’s it was. This straight away got everyone talking, laughing and having fun.
After this, everyone enjoyed a bite to eat and a catch up for an informal networking session. Artists discussed projects they are working on, activities they are running with clients and any challenges they face, offering each other ideas and advice whilst sharing creative tips. This in essence is what the Community Meeting is all about.
Everyone then broke out into groups for a “Create and Design” session. This was the chance for CM Artists to get creative and explore different types of art sessions that they can run with different types of clients. Everyone got stuck in, working in a variety of different mediums. Each group had to create their own piece of artwork to showcase the ideas they brainstormed, which they then presented to the rest of the group.
We all then enjoyed a cuppa and some cake whilst reflecting on the ideas that came from the “Create and Design” session and how they can be applied to different client groups.
Following this, Creative Minds Founder and Director James Cropper ended with a presentation on all the latest company news and updates. James really brought across why now is such an exciting time to be working in the arts and health industry!
This Creative Minds Community Meeting is always a wonderful social occasion. It’s great to bring together so many like-minded passionate artists, all sharing their advice, experience and support. Everyone left feeling positive and uplifted, after hearing so many stories about the impact that their work is doing to bring joy to people’s lives!
A Day in the life of a Creative Minds Artist: Sarah Bryant
How long have you been a Creative Minds Artist? Just over three and a half years. I started in October 2015, and have renewed my franchise for another 3 years.
Tell us what you have been up to today? I like to start early so by 7:45am I was enjoying a coffee, listening to Classic FM in my PJs whist beginning my prep work for today’s art sessions. I had two floral-themed sessions planned, so cut out templates, created a prototype and prepared some musical playlists to take along to the sessions. This took around an hour. I then got myself dressed and ready to leave the house by around 10:15am. I’m lucky because all of the Care Homes where I am based are all close to where I live.
I arrived at St Dominics Care Home in St Leonards-On-Sea and started the session around 10:30am. I worked with eight residents to create their own tulip collages. I got them to paint the flowers using watercolours, demonstrating different techniques for them to try. We then mounted the tulips onto card adding the vases to create a collage. I love engaging with the residents and chatting about memories that may stem from the theme of the sessions. There’s often lots and fun and laughter.
The session finished around 12pm, and all were thrilled with their work. I drove home for lunch and an hour of downtime before I headed out for the afternoon.
I arrived at Whitebeach Care Home in St Leonards-On-Sea around 1:30pm. The home had booked an extended session with me, as work was being carried out on the building. A group of residents worked on a collaborative “funky flower’ wall display. They all enjoyed painting the backdrop using acrylics, then each created their own 3D flower out of paper plates. The music I prepared was playing in the background, and it was all very upbeat and fun. Once the completed piece was up on the wall, one lady who took part came and hugged me with a tear in her eye. She was so thrilled with the outcome. It’s moments like this that make me really love my job!
It is great when homes display the artwork that the residents create. Not only does it brighten the surroundings, but relatives and visitors always appreciate seeing their creations when they come to visit.
I arrived home by around 4:30pm to finish my working day, and grabbed myself a cuppa whilst popping onto the Creative Minds Community Facebook group to share a few pics from the day. The support from the artists is incredible, and it is a great resource to tap into for ideas and advice.
What would a typical week look like to you? I’d normally run on average around five-six sessions per week. Sometimes weeks are busier but that is around how many sessions I’d aim for.
How many hours do you normally work in a week? Including prep time, around 23-24 hours per week.
Where do you get inspiration from on how to carry out your art sessions? Previous artwork that I’ve created, other artists, exhibitions I have visited, the fact that I live by the sea! I can base my sessions around nature, seasons or topical themes. Anything that is happening in the wider world. I also tailor themes of sessions to client’s interests and hobbies. I tap into the Creative Minds Community who share great ideas with each other. I also like to work with recycled/up-cycled materials.
What first attracted you to the Creative Minds franchise opportunity? The opportunity to run my own business with full support. I wanted to be able to get creative again with a care group that I am passionate about having lost both of my parents to dementia.
I was also attracted to the opportunity to be able to work flexibly, and work hours that would fit in better with family life. I wanted to be around for my daughter more and being a Creative Minds Artist offered a working solution that would let me choose the hours I wish to work.
What do you like best about being a Creative Minds Artist? The job satisfaction I gain. I love to see the reactions from clients and pride at what they can achieve. It’s so rewarding to see how pleased they are to see me when I arrive. This type of feedback is the best motivation anyone could ask for. Knowing I’m making a difference to people’s days.
Our CM Artist Grace is a trustee of Dominion Schools Africa – a charity that provides financial support to a Kenyan school and helps to assist the school in providing high-quality education. In November, she went out to Gachie, in Nairobi to visit the school. The school year runs from January – November, so she arrived just as they were preparing for their end of year graduation which celebrates the 6-7 year old’s moving up to the junior school.
Grace saw this as a perfect opportunity for the children to get creative in preparation for graduation day. There is very little creative work in their school curriculum, and the school didn’t have many artistic resources. Grace had taken over some paint brushes and the school had pots of powder paint. That morning, Grace went shopping with the school’s head teacher and purchased some sturdy material to paint on. They decided to make some wall hangings on the theme of the biblical creation story.
Children from the school dropped in and out throughout the day and absolutely loved getting involved! Many had never had the opportunity to paint on such a large scale before. They even made some of their own paint using local earth mixed with water. The teachers were absolutely blown away by their efforts and thrilled to see how enthusiastic the children were.
Grace wanted every child in the school to have a go at creating their own self-portrait to hang up on graduation day. They experimented with mixed media and used paint, crayons and collage to create their own personal portrait. All were thrilled with the results!
The school is generally very structured with little opportunity for creative expression. At the end of the session, Grace allowed the children to have free reign to explore ways of using the artistic materials, and create whatever they wanted to. They all went wild and loved the freedom of the activity, saying how much fun they were having.
The school had never displayed artwork on the walls before, but the teachers loved the difference it made to the building. The teachers were thrilled to see how happy the children were during the art session, and chatted to Grace to discuss ways in which art could be brought into other subjects such as history and geography.
The children were so proud of their work at the end of the day, and were delighted to see it hung up on display. Before she left, one little boy came to Grace and said he’d had the “happiest day ever”!
Creative Minds Artists Attend Community Meeting 2018!
On a beautiful autumnal morning Creative Minds Artists (CM Artists) traveled from across the UK, to come together for our biannual Community Meeting. These meetings are an opportunity for CM Artists to network, share ideas, gain valuable business advice and receive news and updates from the Head Office.
Upon arrival, each artist received a little card with the name of one of the world’s most famous artists on (which they could not reveal). Creative Minds Artists then had to ask each other questions, to try and guess which of the old master’s names they had on their card. This fun game got everyone talking and appreciating how the iconic figures of the art world have inspired many of their own art sessions.
A friendly networking session with refreshments followed, with loads of ideas being shared. Our CM artists regularly communicate with each other via our online forums but don’t often get the chance to chat face-to-face. This was a wonderful opportunity for everyone to enjoy a cup of tea and have a good catch up.
Following this, our CM Artists Jess and Ali delivered a short arts and dementia training session. This included a hands-on workshop, sensitively encouraging everyone to explore ways in which those living with dementia respond to different themes and objects, which evoke emotions and memories.
The artists were then set a 20-minute challenge to each create their own work of art in response to this training. Following this all of the work was hung around the room so that everyone could view and discuss each other’s own unique and beautiful take on the challenge.
Everyone then enjoyed a tasty buffet lunch, followed by tea and cake, whilst reflecting on the insight they had gained from the morning’s session.
Following lunch, Creative Minds Founder and Director James Cropper, delivered news and updates on future plans for Creative Minds, and shared a selection of fresh new business building tools. This lead to an open discussion on the opportunities they have as CM Artists to expand into further fields.
Community Development Manager Sarah Fenner, then shared kind and inspiring words, giving advice and ideas on how to overcome the challenges some of the artists may face. She then encouraged everyone to stop for five minutes, and take a break for a little self-care. All CM Artists were handed clay and took a wander outdoors, for a moment of mindfulness and reflection in the warm autumn sunshine.
This was a lovely way to end the day as everyone considered all that had been discussed, and how it can be applied to their business as Creative Minds Artists. At the end everyone came together for a group photo, before saying good-byes, then each artist began their journey home.
It was a wonderful day, bringing together such a passionate community of artists, and hearing their moving stories about how their work is touching people’s lives. We’re so proud of the work that they do, and we look forward to getting together again for our next community meeting in spring 2019!
Thanks for reading.
Intergenerational Art Sessions at Appleby!
Since the beginning of 2017 Sarah, our Woking based CM Artist has been delivering weekly Art Sessions to Appleby House care home in Epsom, Surrey with one important difference; local primary school children have been in attendance too! Children from Epsom Primary School have been attending the weekly sessions to help the Appleby residents with their art and to collaborate to create wonderful Art Projects.
The intergenerational sessions have been an amazing success and its been great to see young and old generations interact with one another, creating a stimulating and engaging environment for all. “The children have become more comfortable and confident around the residents, it is great to see how some children take the lead when working with a resident and sometimes the resident will take the lead but great to see them working together. The sessions always create great discussions between the residents and children”, Jacqui the Activity Co-ordinator said.
Here are some wonderful photographs taken by our friend Gareth Pugh of a intergenerational session at Appleby House on the 1st March. The session was inspired by Matisse’s cutouts and the children and older adults had a wide selection of colourful pre-cut shapes to chose from to create their art.
Sarah, our Woking based CM Artist has delivered several intergenerational Art Sessions to Appleby House, and says “I am so pleased to have suggested we combine the Art Sessions with the children’s visit to Appleby House. Art breaks down so many barriers for young and old alike, however apprehensive either party is at first the moment the colour appears the generations melt away and young and old just share the moment. Its a joyous experience each and every week no matter what medium i offer them and that joy stays, you can feel it settle into the very construction of Appleby; its walls, the staff, the art. I hope i have the privilege of continuing to run these sessions for a very long time.”
Tracy an Activity Co-ordinator at Appleby House remarks, “The intergenerational sessions work amazingly well with the children enjoying the interaction with the residents. Sarah is brilliant because she leaves the residents and children to create for themselves, knowing when to help!”
Here are some more photo’s of some of the artwork created in the previous inter-generational sessions at Appleby House…
Stained Glass Window Art
Tree and Birds Collage
Mark Making Books
Commenting on the impact the Art Session have had on the Care Home, Jacqui says “During the sessions you see and hear lots of conversation and laughter, conversations have increased and the residents feel good and look uplifted after the sessions. The art created at these sessions will add to the existing art, which will go onto improve our environment. We are trying to put photographs onto canvas to show how amazing the sessions are and we feel the photographs capture the magic created more than words can say.”
James, the Director of Creative Minds comments “The intergenerational Art Sessions delivered to Appleby House are having a fantastic impact on the residents. It provides the residents with the opportunity to interact and communicate with the children and for the children it provides them with an opportunity to support an older adult with their artwork and in a way learn about the effects of dementia and ageing, which is important for children to have an awareness and appreciation of.”
We hope that this will be the start of what will be many intergenerational Art Sessions delivered to care homes across the country. Watch this space.