12th May 2015

‘Hooked’ on art therapy by Paul Brockbank

One of the many activities and therapies on offer to patients at the Day Hospice is creative arts therapy.

It’s not something that I have done before but I was encouraged to have a go by Mary. She leads this activity and has loads of experience in different crafts. She is also a magpie, storing up bits and pieces that can be used for making all sorts of little projects. She has secret storage areas full of resources kindly donated.

We have all heard of MI5 and MI6 but Mary is a special agent for MI4, a secret division of the intelligence service devoted to producing arts and crafts from their secret stores of buttons, canvases, paints and paper. Ask her for a red button, some pink ribbon, a box frame with a tube of yellow paint and a staple gun. Mary will look into the distance for a few seconds, deep in thought, then disappear to her ‘secret bunker’ only to emerge with everything you asked for plus a few things extra. She has really encouraged us all to make things which we haven’t done before and it gives us all a sense of achievement to see the end result. It also helps with concentration and dexterity.

Never having drawn or painted before I wanted to have a go, aided with advice and encouragement from Mary. I took a photo of myself with my iPad and coloured it on the screen then Mary printed it out for me to copy from. She gave me a large canvas and some acrylic paints and I chose to use a palette knife as I don’t have the fine motor skills to use a brush for detailed painting.

Anyway, as you can see by the photo, this is the end result of my first ever painting. I am now hooked on this new hobby and have done a new canvas of our friend’s dog. It really is addictive and good therapy. Thanks to Mary and all the team at St Richard’s I have found a new interest to fill the gap left by all the things that I now cannot do due to my illness. Its great, and they are great!

Paul Brockbank