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  • Writer's pictureClaire Hilton

Adults Can Have Fun Too! - Creative Sessions and Groups from Home (for your Well-being) Aug 2020.

We get asked a lot what we are able to provide and if we know of other well-being or creative activities that are available for people to access. Because of this I have decided to try and create some blog posts focused on adult well-being and creative activities to share the knowledge and hopefully signpost some of you to something new and exciting. We only know about all of these things because we have been working in the community for a number of years but we are sure there's more... this is by no means an exhaustive list, just information we wanted to share :)

Why is this important? Since our movement has been limited recently and groups above a small number have been discouraged a lot of our favourite group activities are a lot more difficult. I personally have missed my yoga classes a lot and found that I have been a lot more creative in my studio and motivated to paint and make. I know others have found the time with no structure more of a challenge and have struggled to find ways to connect and work with others. This may change soon and it may not. It also depends how comfortable you feel in going out. Maybe you are shielding and remain part of a high risk group so are taking extra precautions? Whatever your reason for not being comfortable in groups just yet, there are plenty of other things you can get involved in and resources you can access.

Technology - I think its fair to say that this can be a double edged sword throughout. It may seem intimidating and like something you couldn't comprehend but actually once you get into it I have found that most of the platforms are pretty similar. Its a great way of keeping up with the groups or activities that you were doing before and actually gives a further reach to the sessions or activities that you may be championing or running already. The key really is to keep an open mind. Its never going to be exactly the same, it presents its own specific challenges and ways of working - but online groups can be a valuable way of staying active and connected in a safe way.

I have put together a short list of just some of the things I know that are going on at the moment which you might be interested in or inspire you to share with others or research further to find more activities to get involved in!

Taught Workshops or Classes -

Worcester County Council is running Draw! Starting in September which is an interactive online drawing course FOR BEGINNERS run over 8 weeks. For half an hour at the same time each week your tutor will be live online to lead drawing activities and discussions. All you need provide is an email address and have access to a laptop, tablet or smart phone to click on the link the tutor will send you to open the video conferencing software.

Joining Criteria: Participants must live in Worcestershire, be aged 19 years plus and meet one of our concessions criteria. Those who meet concessions criteria may attend consecutively up to a maximum of three of their arts and crafts course for FREE.

Tip - Its easy to think you are sitting still and doing nothing but eye and back strain is no joke! Try and set up your office area as well as you can for your comfort and ease.

WEA is also a great place to look they have over 200!!! course options running online in Arts and Crafts at the moment here including Abstract art and painting. These courses can be attended free of charge if you are in receipt of benefits so make sure you get int ouch and find out all about that if this applies to you.

Why not have a look and see what your local arts offering has come up with in response to the current climate. You see arts classes and workshops advertised readily online from various different sources and these can be a great way of supporting independent businesses and learning a new style or skill. Often these are done using a few screens so you can see a demonstration as well as a tutor (one camera pointed at the table and another pointed at their face to talk to you).

Tip - Try and make sure you have the things you need to hand before you log in! You may forget something but having the main things in arms reach is easier.

Choirs - There are a few options in the way of joining choirs online. Some are on a break now for the summer such as Crowle singers or Worcestershire Rock Choirs are running sessions and submission events over the summer break.

Arts Uplift are running an online choir which has been extended to include ALL older people that fancy a sing along to the old favourites (including those living with dementia). Mondays with Claire Fowler at 2pm on Zoom for 45 mins. Here's what they are saying; "Each week it just got better and better. Monday was like a conert in the living room!" "I hadn't realised the power of the arts to help my mum for the rest of the afternoon she is brighter and has songs in her head" "As always really lifted her mood"

Life Drawing - I've been taking part in some great life drawing sessions with 'Looking Sketchy' as part of Nozstock the Hidden Valley. They were weekly for 8 weeks and are offered as a pay what you can afford event (suggested donation is £5). There is a different model each week and I have found that it has been challenging and something I haven't done in years! Its different to a life drawing class (if you have ever done one) because everyone has the same view (you pin the model on your screen) and your host Corina) can command some really challenging poses which change regularly. Most of all its just for fun - but Corina is also a very knowledgeable artist and can give guidance as you go. There is also a musical element to this class (as its born from a festival life drawing session) so there is also background music - which may or may not be for you (there is a volume button on all devices ;) ). There are probably many styles and sessions of life drawing happening across the county so why not give one a go and see how you get on? You might like it. It may spark something new in you and inspire some new creative work. Why not join up with a friend and amuse yourselves with your creative work just for fun. *These are on a break at the moment but follow "Looking Sketchy" on Facebook for updates or look for events in your local area*

Tip - Keep your screen hours at a manageable level per day. I have personally found that 4 hours maximum is when I am able to really focus and engage. Try and see what you think and make sure to take regular screen breaks.

Online (learn at your on pace) self study -

There are obviously many videos and sessions you can do on YouTube which are self-motivated and directed which can be good to support you when the inspiration strikes. Such as Worcestershire artists Sarah Millins Video about how to set up your own still life at home (below). This video (and many more) was produced as part of the #LookingInReachingOut project with Wychavon which I was mentoring on to help to give some activities and ideas for being creative from home.

Alternatively - you might find that you are looking for something more directive and with some creative flow and a suggested outcome - more of a step by step. We have been making videos too to inspire you to get creative at home. We have recently done 2 videos showcasing the various uses of oil pastels in a wax resist technique and also a homemade scratch picture (which is fun for all the family). You can find these videos on our YouTube channel. Don't forget you can subscribe for more updates.

Artful Academy is an online arts and crafts teaching resource which can be used by anyone at home. Last year I did some sessions for them online exploring how to be creative and well being elements. I have been lucky enough to have that course (FOR LIFE) saved so I can look at all the great inspiring creative content whenever I want. There is step by step arts and crafts tutorials from a number of people. Some of these courses are paid content but some are also free so its worth keeping an eye on if its something you would be interested in.

The Fold in Brandsford have started a 'Nature and Natter service' which is funded so it is free to access until September. Kate the manager told me "....we realised there was a need to continue to offer support to our Care Farm participants [after the temporary closure due to Covid], but we also wanted to offer this support to anyone in our local community feeling isolated. We developed our 'Natter and Nature' service, offering regular phone-calls and nature inspired activities sent in the post on a weekly basis. This is a free service as we have been lucky to receive some funding to help us cover our costs. This service is coordinated by myself and run by our team of amazing volunteers. You can find out more information on the image below or on their website.

Dancing - Well it wouldn't be well rounded if it didn't include movement as well would it? Dancefest have been working really hard to get their classes back on the go with some zoom options as well as hoping to get back to teaching face to face with limited numbers. They do a great variety of styles and age rages and even better if you don't have to leave the house to do it! There's fitness focused classes, over 55's as well as Street dance! So why not have a look at their schedule and see what you fancy and give it a go - why not! They also have a bursting page of video resources which are absolutely free. You can find those HERE.

All of the things I have suggested here I think are great resources that I know of in the local area. None of this information has been suggested by the companies or sponsored in any way and I would love to know if you have positive experiences of other creative activities throughout lockdown!

As always we can continue the conversation on our social media channels Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and let us know what you think and share your experiences with us.

Stay safe and be kind (to yourself and others)


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