Summary of the art workshop ‘Journey’ 25.10.08 with Shirley Kelly,

People arrived gradually and after the formalities we sat down and really introduced
ourselves. Shirley asked us to sit in a circle and to share our names and the journey we had had that morning and what we wanted out of the day.

Some people shared that they believed fervently that everyone was creative and that not having an outcome would free them up to get more in touch with their inner creativity. One person shared how she wanted to access her creative side having felt so far in her life too confined in the logical deductive processes of the mind.

Our morning incorporated working with clay. Shirley made it clear that the objects madewere not important in the sense of their final outcome. In fact as I sat there I felt drawn inside myself, strangely in touch with a vulnerability I had not anticipated feeling. The clay seemed to direct my hands as I found the shapes, rather than seeming to make them.

Continuing on the theme of ‘Journey’, using creative imagination, we visualised an inner wishing well where we each drew out the gifts we needed. Using collage each person then creatively expressed their unique gift. By the end of this activity each of us had developed an iconic image, important not for what it looked like, but for what it symbolised being richly representative of each person’s individual quest. A deep sense of respect for our creative process, free from judgement in a spirit of acceptance, made this workshop a really moving experience.

Mike Oldfield’s ‘Music of the Spheres’ was played before we parted on our respective journeys home. So in conclusion I hope that in future FPS will continue to endorse further workshops with Shirley.

Her status as a ukcp registered integrative arts psychotherapist means she could help FPS provide a valuable service not just to FPS members but also potentially to ordinary members of the public, who from all walks of life could be enabled to explore the creative process, this being something that is encouraged in the statutes of FPS as an arts educational charity and a function the Arts Council would certainly endorse. I know that there is often an uneasy relationship between professional artists and those who use art as a means of personal transformation which is probably why FPS members did not come forward to take part on this occasion.

However I feel that as long as we are aware of the intention behind what we do we run no danger of either diminishing the status of art nor undermining the personal endeavours of those who seek to access their creativity and discover something of themselves in the process. Indeed workshops like these seem to me to provide a future avenue for a society that needs to establish closer links with the general public, funding bodies and also with its own members if it is to survive in the long term.

(Penelope MacEwen, Outreach Officer)


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