Creativity in Isolation

Artist Francis Bacon’s studio – don’t blame us if your home ends up looking like this!

Arts Together exists to bring creativity and art to people who are still young in heart and mind but older in body. Our weekly groups meet to take part in arts activities, enjoy a meal together and experience much needed social interaction. Sadly, with the world currently in lock-down we are all physically isolated from one another, but we can still be creative and reach out to others.

These pages are for anyone to read and share, not just for Arts Together participants. We plan to bring you a selection of; arty tasks, creative games, art processes and fun things, so come back often to see what’s new. If you like anything then please share it with your friends and family. If you are proud of what you have created then send us a photo or a few words for us to share. We hope that you will experience some light relief, small personal adventures and creative surprises!

As well as keeping older people engaged in creativity in their homes we are also supporting them with; regular phone calls, posting out art packs and emergency shopping if needed. This is all part of sustaining their well-being and mental health through contact and social interaction.

Everything we share here is free, but as a charity we are facing an uncertain future when this isolation ends. Please donate any amount if you can. Thank you.

1. A ‘Little Book of Things’

If you are a regular group member at Arts Together you should have received a small sketch book. If you don’t have a book, why not make one! Here is a simple suggestion:

The book can be any size you want – depends on the size of the paper you have. The diagram and photos may help you. Over to you.

Book made from old envelopes and scrap paper, sewed together

Here’s a link to some other book making ideas

2. Now you have a book here’s how to get started

3. Start collecting ‘rubbish’

– the things we usually chuck out – wrappings, cereal boxes, paper; anything that catches your eye. You may need to wash it before re-naming it ‘art materials’. Some project ideas will be coming your way soon.

4. Exploration of the Day with Keri Smith – updated every day

There’s a great little book by Keri Smith called “How to be an Explorer of the World”. I have often used it to get ideas for starting new art projects. During this time of isolation Keri is publishing a new project idea everyday – fun things to stimulate and turn us into creative explorers. Check them out!

5. A collage project for today

A collage of yellow with plastic spoon

In your sketchbook or on a piece of paper or card – choose a single colour (example red) and make up a page consisting of this colour. It could be a collage of paper, wrappers, magazine pictures or scraps of fabric plus coloured pencils and pens. Cut and tear into pieces. How many varieties of red can you see and find? They could be arranged in patterns or laid out at random or even layered but all in shades of one colour.

Alternatively do a drawing or a still life of items that are one colour (ie a study in blue for example might include a number of blue objects clustered together).

Think about how different colours make you feel. Do you have a favourite colour and what does it say about you.

6. Make a Creative Companion

What will your Creative Companion look like?

When we’re self-isolating or on our own, doing some art can help us forget for a time that we feel lonely. When we’ve finished though, it’s nice to have someone to show it to.
Here’s an easy way to make a creative companion.

What you need:

Additional materials but not essential – fabric, jewellery, paper, card, string, foil, fruit nets, sticks, leaves, sponge, washcloth, etc.

And for fixing together – glue, safety pins, tape, sticky fixits, string, rubber bands sewing things, scissors etc. Basically whatever you can find at hand.

You won’t need all this but the more you have the greater the options for being creative

You could ask their name? Show them any art you’ve made. Ask them what they think. Point out the bits you’re pleased with. They could be the strong silent type or they might tell you what they think with a tilt of the head or a blank stare. They might make you laugh. If you don’t agree with them you can make some more, until you have a whole panel of constructive critics, to argue amongst themselves. They’ll be on your side though – because you made them.

Have fun BUT make sure you still have a spare spoon to stir your soup. And don’t forget to share with us what you make.

Julia – artist and trustee for Arts Together.

7. Some links to creative activities you can try at home

I really don’t think this isolation is going to last long enough to enjoy all of this!

More projects to follow here soon… or on Facebook now!