Willow workshop at Positive Images Festival 2018

Originally ‘Basket Case’ referred to WWI soldiers who had lost arms and legs and had to be carried in baskets by others. A ‘Basket Case’ is someone who is regarded as ‘useless’ and it became a derogatory term for people with mental illness that is sadly still often used today.
 
Nobody is useless.
 
Arty-Folks challenges such stereotypes and misconceptions and we are working towards a world where people are able to have everyday conversations about mental wellbeing within families and across the wider community.
 
The workshop is free and our artists will show you how to use willow and make a spiralling hanging basket for your garden. We hope it will then continue reminding you to relax and clear your mind in times of stress.

Arty-Folks exhibits at Positive Images Festival 2018

Main floor – We are so proud and excited to exhibit for the first time “Inner Child” sculptures created by our Making Way group.  These sculptures are in two parts; ‘parent and child’ and took the best part of 4 months to complete. This was a particularly beautiful project where we explored being kinder to ourselves and to stand up to those negative voices in our minds.

Main floor – by popular demand we are exhibiting ‘Spiralling’ again, a magical installation created collaboratively by members of Arty-Folks’ young adults group.

1st floor – Paintings by members of all four groups that Arty-Folks runs weekly. These landscapes are inspired by Aboriginal paintings and map out personal places of importance and that help us grounding.

Positive Images Festival is in its 24th year and runs Saturday 16th June – 7th July.
You can pick up a copy of the programme at Coventry Central Library

 

 

Spiralling Willow Workshop Saturday 19th May 2018

Saturday 19th of May           Free Workshop 11am-1pm
Central Library main floor.  Learn to make a willow spiral basket

Originally ‘Basket Case’ referred to WWI soldiers who had lost arms and legs and had to be carried in baskets by others.   Later, and until the 1960’s, ‘Basket Case’ referred to the mentally ill at Insane Asylums who wove baskets as part of their ‘therapy’ and to do something ‘useful’.  To suffer a mental illness is still seen as a mark of disgrace today even though many recover fully, or learn to manage their condition especially if they get help early on.

15 Minutes is how long it will take you to make a small spiral willow basket
on Saturday 19th of May 11am-1pm.

Join us and together let’s challenge the stigma that still surrounds mental illness today.
Work with Arty-Folks towards a world where people are able to have everyday conversations about mental well-being within families and across the wider community.

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Spiralling for Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

We are delighted to invite you to ‘Spiralling’ an exhibition and installation of artwork created by members of Arty-Folks for Mental Health Awareness Week 14-20 May 2018 at Coventry Central Library, Smithford Way, Coventry CV1 1FY, open Mon-Fri 9am-7pm and Sat 9am-4.30pm.
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The Mental Health Foundation chose Stress as the theme for 2018 and describes it as feeling under abnormal pressure. This pressure can come from different aspects of your day to day life and it often has a cumulative effect, with each stressor building on top of one another.

Everyone experiences stress to some degree and it can sometimes be positive and help you perform better in certain situations. But it’s only beneficial if it is short-lived!  If stress is affecting your life seek support to tackle the issues fuelling it and at the same time find your own ways to de-stress.

Go for a walk, try meditation, yoga or tai-chi, or join Arty-Folks any Wednesday throughout the year 12.30-2.30 at Holyhead Studios (formerly known as Artspace), 16 Lower Holyhead Road, Coventry CV1 3AU, in Coventry City Centre just off Spon Street.

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We would like to hear your creative ways to manage stress using the hashtag #mycreativecalm across FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.
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AJ Gallagher Gives Award £5,000 to Arty-Folks

Arty-Folks was nominated for this award by an AJG employee who benefited from our creative self-development program. During our sessions, she realised that self-expression in a community of peers helped improve her well-being and that such therapeutic opportunities are not available to those in work. Currently Arty-Folks workshops run in the daytime so are not accessible to the majority of people who are in employment.
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AJ Gallagher is a global insurance broker with more than 4,500 employees specialising in risk management and insurance solutions for corporate, commercial and personal customers. Gallagher Gives is part of their global Corporate Social Responsibility program and provides opportunities for their employees to get involved in local projects.

People in work are not immune to stress: over a 9 month period Coventry City Council reported 14,000 work days lost through stress, depression and anxiety. With 1 in 6 employees currently experiencing mental health problems, mental health is an essential business concern. There is a strong relationship between levels of staff well-being and motivation and performance and by taking a positive approach to mental health, like
AJ Gallagher, businesses can help their staff grow.

Statutory services focus on people who have become so unwell that they are not able to function in society anymore and we recognise the opportunities to address mental stress at early stages are limited. We all have mental health and we will all experience periods of good and poor mental health, just as we do physical health.

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With this award Arty-Folks will be able to pilot a new service that will equip people in employment who are struggling with stress or who care for a loved one or friend with mental health needs with creative techniques to recalibrate mental energies.

We are very grateful to AJG employees at the Coventry branch for allowing us to test our ideas on them during Mental Health Awareness Week May 2018 and for supporting us with a wide range of tasks that will strengthen our charity.

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R.H. “Feeling at home again”

I first came to Arty-Folks after a prolonged period of turmoil experienced while living in the north of England. During this time I lost my career, home and contact with most of my friends and family. Eventually after spending a Christmas and New Year’s Eve living in a section of concrete drain pipe on a Blackpool car park I made my way to Coventry, my home town, more by accident than choice.

Not long after moving here I was sectioned under the mental health act, spending a month in a psychiatric ward. To be forced into such a confined, tense and controlled environment was traumatic, particularly as I did not believe I was mentally ill but just going through a rough period. After being discharged I was introduced to Arty-Folks and soon found the atmosphere to be really welcoming.  Unfortunately, the neighbours where I was living were very antisocial and threatening, and I then went through another bout of mental illness that even I could recognise as real and serious. Once again I found myself in the psychiatric hospital this time for three months. While I was in there (voluntarily this time) Arty-Folks staff visited me and made my 60th birthday which fell on a Friday 13th and a full moon!  I hadn’t celebrated my birthday in many many years and reading the card with best wishes from my friends at Arty-Folks I felt that there were people out there who genuinely cared about me.

When I left hospital Arty-Folks staff helped me move to my new home and I started to attend the art sessions again.  I found returning to the group very helpful. Members from all sorts of backgrounds suffer with a variety of conditions and have developed so many differing coping strategies which are shared when chatting while doing the artwork. No one is judgemental and no matter how mild or severe or your condition it can be discussed with the group without embarrassment or fear of ridicule.  Often someone would say something about their history, thoughts and feelings, that can give real insight into your own as seen through different eyes. The art projects that Arty-Folks artists set allow your emotions to be projected onto a variety of media and enable you to examine what, within your own mind and soul, forms, the patterns and colours of your work. I found the session at the end of each project where the group take it in turn to interpret each others work really interesting; hearing what others feel your work represents can be very informative. This, like the chat around the table, often gives insight to your own feelings and deeper thoughts that you, perhaps, had not been able to see yourself before. We also went on some very interesting trips to other art venues which also helped widen our immersion in art and our ability to interpret its meanings.

For me Arty-Folks was not about becoming a great artist, any level of ability can participate, It was about mending or improving myself through art.  I believe Arty-Folks approach to therapeutic art has taught me how to look into my own self and understand more of the emotions and character traits that shape my behaviour, so to better know how to bring out the best in myself. It was also great to work with a group of mutually supportive people, peers and staff, who genuinely care about each other. After four years I have reached the next stage of my recovery and will be leaving Arty-Folks but will miss it greatly.   I feel probably for the first time at home, safe and a part of the community, with friends to call on, and with interests and hobbies that make me feel my life is worth living.  I would recommend Arty-Folks to anyone who is looking for support to turn their lives around.

Arty-Folks launches new group Making Headway for 18-30yr olds

Join us on Tuesday 2nd of May at 1pm at the Earlsdon Library to celebrate the establishment of Making Headway, our 4th weekly art group  for 18-30yr olds.Headway(A5) -Frnt (PRINT)

Our Tilly supports members of the group to learn a range of fine art practices including drawing, painting, ceramics, as well as Adobe Photoshop, video/photography and to tell their story through a powerful visual and verbal language.  We will help them build a strong and personal art portfolio and progress to accredited art courses at College or University.

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A life-coach will support members of this group to increase their self-understanding and to gain a different perspective on their own circumstances affecting their sense of well-being.
The life coach will also help with practical matters such as benefits and finances, CV’s, job searches and interviews, as well as accessing therapies and in fact anything that stands in the way of confidence, self-esteem, and direction in life.

Additionally, members of this group will design and publish an annual book containing artwork, documentations, and personal statements created during the weekly sessions. These books will powerfully tell their story and celebrate how far they have travelled.

We will also showcase their talents at local venues Fargo/Herbert Gallery and demonstrate that the visual arts are a powerful tool for good mental health.

This project received 3year funding of £75,000 from HOE Logo Coloured

Mental Health Awareness Week

Coventry charities Arty-Folks and AIMHS (Actively Improving Mental Health Services) have joined forces to mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and to raise discussions around mental health Thriving or Surviving

Coventry has a lot of mental health peer-to-peer support in the community to offer but it’s not always easy to find out about it.

Monday 8th of May, 11am-3pm at Coventry Central Library, come and talk to members of Arty-Folks and AIMHS who will share their knowledge and expertise with you to help you thrive in life.

Picnic in the Park Friday 12th of May 2017

Coventry mental health charities are bringing people together to a ‘bring and share’ picnic by the main visitors centre in the Memorial Park.  Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate Peer-to-Peer mental health support in the community.

Meet by Godiva statue in Broadgate 12noon and you can either join
AIMHS walking group and with them make your way to the Memorial Park
or
Arty-Folks and we will visit our exhibitions at Central library and further up at Earlsdon library before getting to the Memorial Park.

Come and enjoy a chat with old and new friends, relax and share some food, and we have booked sunshine and surprise entertainment for you.

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Are you Thriving or Surviving ?

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Good mental health is much more than just the absence of a mental illness.
Arty-Folks members are exhibiting work exploring what helps us feel we are thriving in life.

At Coventry Central Library
Ground floor by the seating area:    ‘Twixt Nature & Nurture’, a sculpture created collaboratively by members of three Arty-Folks groups.
First floor:     Textiles and Collages exploring self-motivation

At Earlsdon Library
Progression group members: textiles exploring self-motivation
Making Way group members: ceramic portraits
Headway group members:  Stimulus and Homeostasis glass sculptures

Mental Health Awareness Week 8-14 May 2017, we invite you to look at mental health from a new angle. Rather than ask why so many people are living with mental health problems, we will seek to uncover why too few of us are thriving with good mental health. Many of us struggle to cope with the demands of life and  we need to take steps to look after our mental health and building resilience to thrive despite set backs.
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