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"How to Get Creative" with Voluntary Action Leeds

This blog is a repost of a blog created by Sarah about her experience attending a session as part of the Arts Organisation Development Free Training Programme developed by Voluntary Action Leeds and Leeds 2023.


Thank you to Sarah for letting us share her experience and please take the time to visit the original blog or click here to find out more about the training programme.



This morning I attended a BRILLIANT workshop conducted by Penny from Penny's Community Arts in conjunction with Voluntary Action Leeds.


You can find Penny's site here .... https://pennyscommunityarts.com/

It was informative, friendly, creative and safe. By that I mean that I felt safe being there, doing my art stuff! I didn't feel judged or inadequate, quite the opposite in fact.

Penny was extremely inclusive and encouraging. It was also extremely well organised. As you can see by the picture Penny had planned and prepared everything, ready for us. That made me feel appreciated, that my time was important, that I was important!

Initially I experimented with paper, ink, sponges and stamping. It was such an amazing feeling, to be free just to have a go without feeling that I had to prove something to someone or pass a test. It was quite simply liberating and playful.

The workshop was 3 hours long and it went by in a flash. All the materials were provided so all the participants could really get stuck in. It was like being a child again. There were no boundaries and gentle encouragement pushed me to try new things and experiment with textures and techniques.


Sometimes it can feel daunting, nerve wracking, going in to the unknown. I hadn't been to the Hamara Healthy Living Centre before, didn't know where it was or what took place there. To be quite honest I thought this workshop was more of a formal 'sit down and listen to someone talking for 3 hours'. Thankfully it wasn't. The whole point of this workshop was to encourage my own creativity, to get my juices flowing, to find out the who?, where?, and what? of me. What makes me tick?, what creativity am I harbouring inside?, where can I see myself going?, and how can I use it in my practice?, how can it influence my practice?


So often the everyday-ness of life just takes over. We do the jobs we need to do. We look after the people that need looking after and we forget who we are, what we like, and what we want to do. This workshop seemed to lift the lid, just a little bit, into that enclave for me. It was personal without being overwhelming. Revealing without being painfully exposing.


Acetate Sheets Who knew that acetate sheets could be used to draw on? I would never have thought of that. Yet here I was, acetate sheet, pastels, pens just having a go.


Indulging in the bright colours felt like a real treat. Perhaps I was revealing more about myself than I actually thought!!?? Who knows?, who cares? This was my time and my experience.


Printing I have always wanted to have a go at printing and today I did. It was something we never did at school. I guess materials are expensive and ink is messy!

Yet here I was, rolling out the ink with vigour and excitement! The anticipation of what the marks that I made would actually look like gave me a sense of urgency. I wanted to get as much done as possible, to really make the most of the opportunity.


The adult part of me was saying 'slow down, take your time, be careful, less is more, you'll spoil it, be sensible..' the child inside of me was saying 'go, go, go, do more, have fun, so what if it doesn't go to plan, you will learn'.






And there it was...... I will learn through method, process and experience. If it doesn't 'work' I'll do it differently next time. A real rehearsal for life experience..


Needless to say I would absolutely, without hesitation, 100% recommend this workshop to anybody and everybody. Learn to play again, have a go, you never know, you might even enjoy it.


This workshop is the 2nd in a series of workshops with Voluntary Action Leeds and Leeds 2023.


Take a look here for the details.



Please enjoy my gallery!











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