Its January and its another grey and dreary day in Woking and all I can think about is the tropics, joy and colour for my clients and the creation of a wonderful spring garden indoors!
Then I start thinking about my daughters wedding in May and the hen party I need to organise. She’s an English teacher and loves literature and here we are in the land of Alice, Lewis Carrol was born in Guildford and the world is currently celebrating the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland being written. Thus what started as an idea for a little window garden display led us down the path to Alices garden!!
In for a penny in for a pound I put forward my idea to Katie at the Park Barn Centre in Guildford, Surrey: An Alice in Wonderland display in time for Easter and what about a Mad Hatters Tea Party?
Yes why not!!! She said.
And so began the transformation of my sitting room into cardboard construction sight and my family never quite knowing which character they would be sharing tea with!
When I proposed the idea to the wonderful folks at the centre they were thrilled and ready and willing to get stuck in to whatever I set before them. Whether it be 5ft cardboard trees; lime green flamingos, pink grinning cats, soldiers made of playing cards, flowers with lion and tiger faces, not to mention all the main characters encountered in the curious of world of Alice in Wonderland, all destined to make up our display.
The Park Barn Four Seasons dementia centre were not to be ignored and embraced the mess and challenges of creating the foliage for the garden, rolling papier mache caterpillar segments and even making crockery for the Mad Hatter himself.
Every session had jubilant reactions for those participating to onlookers, as different characters and parts of the display were completed. There have been wonderful jovial shakes of the head from passers-by at the absolute absurdity, it is Alice in Wonderland after all.
Even the Park Barn Centre staff got involved in the project and throughout the process amongst the organised chaos of tissue paper, acrylic paint, pipe cleaners, clay, card, glue, fabric and fur, Cornelia and I have tried to capture moments from each session as the concept grew. Meanwhile Amanda and other staff continued with cutting hearts and building an army of playing card soldiers and Four Seasons participants soldiered on with creating colourful pompoms, an essential part of wonderland.
After many sessions working on the project the Alice in Wonderland display is now been complete and was launched at the Mad Hatters Tea Easter Feast on Wednesday 23rd March and will be available for all to appreciate in the following weeks.
It was even featured in the Surrey Advertiser…
Some comments from those involved and at the event…
“At our social centres we ensure that visitors have the opportunity to enjoy a whole range of fun and interesting activities. Arts and crafts are very popular and this Easter project provided a brilliant theme for everyone to take part in. The mural is a testament to the creative work of older people and I would like to thank Creative Minds for their involvement in such a worthwhile project.”
Quote from Cllr Tony Rooth, Lead Councillor for Housing and Social Welfare.
“Sarah’s Creative Minds is a wonderful addition to the activities on offer at Park Barn, particularly the long term Alice project that has kept all the service users/clients engaged.”
Amanda, Support Officer
“A year ago you would never have convinced me I would enjoy doing art but now im thoroughly enjoying it.”
Barbara (service user)
Thanks for reading,