I became aware of my creativity during my time as a Marketing Manager. When I was made redundant and whilst looking for employment I went on a part-time Access Course in Art and Design. During that time my health took a massive downturn to the extent that by the end of the two year course I was bedridden.
Due to my poor health, it was only years later that I managed to reconnect with art and took a part-time Foundation Course in Art and Design. By the end of it I gained an unconditional offer for a BA Honours in 3D Design and Craft. Unfortunately I was still too unwell to pursue that path and had to reluctantly decline this very tempting offer.
Last year after an eight year gap I finally was able to re-engage with art and made a pair of papier-mâché wellies which I exhibited at Restore during Oxfordshire Art Week.
In September 2010, following a gut feeling, I embarked on a four year part-time Foundation Degree in Writing for Performance. My Doctor wasn’t at all in favour of that choice and very reluctantly agreed to sign the paperwork from the college regarding my health. It didn’t take long to see she had a point. Nevertheless I held on to the only positive thing I had at the time which were my gut feeling and the encouragement from Restore. I am glad to say that despite a very tough four years I graduated with distinction last October.
This journey has expanded my creativity and has taken me to different places. As a result, I designed and facilitated a number of workshops at various venues including Restore’s Mental Health Recovery Groups and at The Chipping Norton Literary Festival 2012.
Following these successes and during my study and work placement in Mental Health settings, I wrote two eight week courses which I delivered to two separate Women Only Groups.
Apart from that, I’ve written a number of short films and plays and was involved in five different short film productions. My role within the last production was as a script supervisor.
During my final year of study The Rollright Stones Trust became aware that I was writing a play as a college assignment based on the legend of their site. Subsequently they asked if I would be happy for that play to go into production. I’ve accepted their invitation and this play was staged at their site on 13th June 2015.
In December 2014, after over a decade in attending various Mental Health Recovery Groups as a service user, I went for the last time as a client to their Christmas Members’ meal. I now volunteer as an Art Facilitator for a different Mental Health Organisation where I deliver the courses I had previously designed.
The help and assistance I’ve received over the last four years at Restore has been tremendous. I don’t think I would have achieved this much without their invaluable support. I truly feel they have played a huge part in getting me to where I am today. Thank you Restore.