The Devon Recovery Learning Community (DRLC) partnered with Significant Seams, an award-winning Community Interest Company to pilot ‘Textiles and Nature: Crafting Natural Inspiration’ to three cohorts of DRLC students – with thanks to supplemental support from Devon Community Foundation’s Aquarius Fund and two Devon County Council Locality Fund grants. The positive impact of the pilot has led to the successful securing of funding from Devon County Council’s 'Doing What Matters' programme for another year’s worth of programmes in 2020/2021.
The course is facilitated by the Significant Seams artists who bring lived experience of mental health challenges, as well as experience as mental health practitioners, to the sessions. Their approach is to facilitate creative activity and a connection with nature as vehicles to benefit mental health.
On this wonderfully creative course, students work with the artists to try out a range of artistic techniques that explicitly engage with nature or use natural materials, with students foraying into the immediate local environment to find natural inspiration.
Activities on the course include cyanotypes (sun prints), shadow drawing, rust dyeing, direct printing with plants, making a journal, ‘Hapa-Zome’ (flower pounding) and spinning wool.
On one very dreary (and wet!) January session, course participants carded a raw fleece, blended colourful wool roving and spun it into highly personal, multi-coloured yarn. They also ‘collected colour’ from plants and flowers in the immediate environs of the former Victorian school where the course was being held. The amount of colour found astounded and inspired each student.
Comments from the students
“The spinning was an incredible experience from fleece to yarn - surprisingly good for me.”
“The connections and learning has been a great benefit to me both mentally and physically. So grateful.”
“This course has given me confidence, friendship and space to be.”
“I benefited from attending in many ways - so valuable to the recovery process.”
“This course has helped me to feel good about aspects of myself: this course also confirmed and highlighted some of the positive changes that are ongoing in my recovery. Thank You”
Significant Seams has brought experience from an EU (Erasmus) funded project called Art & Social Change which researched the effective use of art in recovery. In the coming term, Significant Seams are helping to deliver two further courses with the Devon Recovery Learning Community including ‘Quilting for Wellbeing,’ and ‘Alive and Creative.’
For further information about the many addititional courses on offer, head to the Devon Recovery Learning Community website.