This guest post is by Claire Sheridon, an arts tutor at Impact Arts. This community arts organisation has a Glasgow-based project called Craft Cafe, which helps tackle isolation and loneliness.
Craft Cafe was designed as a response to the debilitating effects loneliness and isolation were having on older people in the community. It is a creative solution to these issues, offering members a safe, social and artistic environment where they can learn new skills, renew social networks and thrive through creativity.
There are Craft Cafes in the Govan and Castlemilk areas of Glasgow run in partnership with Cassiltoun and Elderpark Housing Associations, and Craft Cafe members are currently preparing for their first ever public exhibition, which has provided plenty of discussion, activity and a buzz of creativity.
The exhibition will be staged at the People’s Palace in Glasgow, which gives Glasgow-based groups the opportunity to display work in their community exhibition space. This historic setting – and the challenge of creating work to go on show – has provided real inspiration for our members.
A day trip to the People’s Palace was held at the end of January and members were given a fantastic tour of the building by museum staff. During the tour, which highlighted many aspects of Glasgow’s history, members began to reminisce about growing up and living in Glasgow and started to relate their own personal histories of the city.
Some commented that they hadn’t visited the building since they were children (and were pleased to see old favourites like the whale jaw bone still on display!) while others who had visited more recently enjoyed the tour as it made them notice things differently.
The tour really started to get our members thinking about aspects of their everyday lives – and their own personal histories – and seeing these as valid subjects for their artwork, which they had not considered before. Although many members had similar experiences growing up and seeing Glasgow change through the years, each person had very individual ideas about the work they wanted to create for the exhibition.
The tour provided an impetus for creativity which has been followed up with source material from the library and internet. Members working in both Castlemilk and Govan have started to plan and sketch out ideas of final pieces to display and enthusiasm and excitement is currently running high as we near the exhibition launch date of 1st March.
Members have really been pushing themselves creatively as they explore how best to capture aspects of Glasgow and its history in their own unique style. The work on show will undoubtedly be as varied as the personalities within Craft Cafe with subject matter and media ranging from streetscapes in watercolour to portraits of Glasgow personalities in oils.
Preparing for their first public exhibition has allowed Craft Café members to begin viewing themselves as artists – a big step as most had not drawn since school before attending the class. It has also provided members a trip down memory lane and conversations about transport, “single ends” and “the dancin’” have regularly punctuated our preparations.
Most of all, preparing for the exhibition has provided Craft Café members with a new confidence in themselves and we are all looking forward to seeing everything finally come together on 1st March!
For more information about Craft Cafe, please contact Laura Gutierrez at Impact Arts on 0141 575 3001 or visit the website: http://www.impactarts.co.uk
The Craft Cafe exhibition will run from 1st March -11th April at The People’s Palace, Glasgow. See the People’s Palace on Google Maps.
Images © Impact Arts