Helen can be engaged for workshops and presentations. Please email email@example.com for more information.
Broken Hill, NSW – April 2013
Family and Carer Mental Health Program, Far West Local Health District NSW
What a fantastic trip to Broken Hill! As well as presentations to clinicians, I spent a full day with a wonderful group of carers in a beautiful old church that was the perfect setting for an art group.
Packing was a challenge, as I couldn’t bear to leave much behind – but fortunately we were driving. I don’t think I would have been allowed on a plane laden, as I was, with a suitcase full of inspiration – art books, journals and goodies, original artwork of my own to share, my homemade karma cards, hand carved rubber stamps, papers for collage …
There was enough funding to cover a very special goodie bag for each carer coming to the workshop. I was excited for them myself as I ordered the bright red moleskine journals to start them on their art journaling adventure – if that wasn’t going to motivate them to keep going, I didn’t know what was!
My daughter put the goodie bags together (big thanks there) – and everyone received a journal, collage papers tied with curly ribbon, a black pen, white gel pen, pencil and a golden chocolate love heart (couldn’t resist the love heart …). The bags were finished off with my home made rubber stamps with messages of hope and strength. And at the other end Tanya had printed off colour copies of my step by step instructions and bound them together to look beautiful. These carers were surely in for a very special day, thanks to the Family & Carer Mental Health Program.
We spent the day playing with pens, pencils, collage, watercolours, acrylic paints, rubber stamps, gesso … basically anything that we could pick up and combine in our journals. Great fun, and so good to see what everyone was producing (I was a bit like a mother chicken I was so proud!). I loved that everyone had a style of their own, and interpreted things completely differently. Everyone worked at their own pace and had a go at something new.
It was a great day, but I think even better than that one day was to hear that the workshop had made a difference to those carers down the track. To know that they are still finding joy in those journals, and communicating in ways they hadn’t imagined, means it was more than worthwhile. I really hope it has opened them up to lots of new adventures, and given them something special of their own to treasure. I certainly have very special memories of my day with them.
I would especially like to thank Tanya Clifton and Sophie Angell who organised the workshop and presentations, and made me so welcome during my trip to Broken Hill. They do an amazing job supporting carers, and really spoilt that group rotten (and me too!).
As an extra bonus, some of the artists from that day have shared their artwork. I have put them on separate pages for privacy reasons, but please check them out. Thank you so much for sharing!