I had intended on writing about something else today but during planning an email to send out to my E-course mailing list I re-read the one I sent out last week and thought I would post it here. I truly believe these thoughts are at the very core of my reasons for launching Unearth, Gather, Create. So apologies if you have already read this in the email but if you did not receive it or would still like to sign up for email updates then it is not too late to do so here at the bottom of this page. I won’t be posting every email here but I just wanted to give you an idea of the kind of email I am sending out.

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“When thinking about art, about those who have painted the wonderful pictures that move us and inspire us, it is easy to believe that there is some magic secret to creating art that resonates. That we can never achieve the same connection through our own work.

I work 2 days a week with older people some who have early stages of dementia and I have worked a lot in groups where we have used objects to help us tell stories. One of the most common things that these elders say when a group is beginning and I let them know what we will be doing is ‘What stories can I tell? I haven’t had an interesting life? Who will want to hear what I have to say”.

We begin the group. I pull an object out of the box. An old skipping rope, a table top mincer, a powder compact or a pair of butter pats perhaps. Eyes light up. Expressions show recognition. Chatter begins. “My mother used to grind the meat from the pig!” “We used to play skipping games in the street, there weren’t many cars in those days”. “I couldn’t afford make-up so we used to use corn flour to powder noses.”

Connections are made – between the group members and the memories the objects bring up, between me, the younger learner and them, the expert on their own lives. (Being an expert at something is incredibly validating. When older people realise that no-one knows more about their own stories than they do their whole demeanour changes and they can talk for hours!) Connections are made between each other. It is a joy to see and hear.

So what does this have to do with making art? For me – everything. Connections are made through the simplest of things. Connections are made through our own stories and imaginations. It is easy to believe we don’t have anything interesting to say but I truly believe that if we connect deeply with what is inside of us, even to the things which can seem ordinary or uninteresting to the world then we can make art that resonates, art that will connect us to others and make new discoveries about ourselves and the world around us.

When I am creating art the most important thing to me is to connect with my own character and heart, make what is true to me and hope that someone, somewhere will feel a connection to it.”

I am excited to let you know that I am launching a brand new e-course (my first ever) called Unearth, Gather, Create and the inspiration for it is my own process of digging deep, finding inspiration in the things I love and connecting with others through my art.

If you would like to find out more, you can view the course description at Unearth, Gather, Create.

Registration opens on 3rd February. Course begins 7th April 2014.

If you have any feedback or thoughts for my ideas for the course then I would love to hear from you.