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Arts and PLAICE - Reflections on my Urban Places Residency with Hospital Rooms

*This blog was written with Miss C-GPT* - instruction a blog with a sea metaphor tone*

Ahoy, fellow adventurers of artistic exploration! Join me on a voyage through my Urban Places Art residency in Cornwall with Hospital Rooms - an arts and mental health charity that commissions extraordinary artworks for NHS mental health inpatient units across the UK.

I embarked on a two-week journey alongside Anna and Izzy on the Hospital Rooms Cornwall Project at their base in Krowji.

My mission (the assignment for my Master's) was to create a proposal for an artwork for one of the wards.

Throughout the voyage, certain themes emerged, whispered by the winds of creativity.

Cats, those mysterious companions known for their comforting presence, were a wellspring of inspiration. Their imagined presence could offer solace to patients who had to part ways with their own beloved pets.

The metaphorical softness of clouds, with their associations with passing storms and cloudy thoughts, provided another avenue of exploration.

As the journey unfolded, I found myself drawn to the calming and healing qualities of the sea.

The location of the hospitals near the coast provided a connection to the calming feelings associated with water.

In workshops led by the already commissioned artists for the Hospital Rooms Project, I delved deeper into these themes and ideas.

In the Many Masks workshop, led by Abigail Reynolds at Tate St Ives, the invitation was to create a mask inspired by the Casablanca Art School exhibition.

I crafted a 'CC - Sea See' Sea-tinted mask, Like rose-tinted, only when you look through it your thoughts would be directed towards the tranquillity of the sea.

Photo from Anna Testar - Hospital Rooms

At the Barbara Hepworth Museum, in Ro Roberstons Drawing Water workshop, we explored mark-making using watercolours. taking inspiration from the sculptures in the garden and the sea visible from different vantage points, we immersed ourselves in the layers of the sea and its calming influence.

The final workshop was on Cove Ward in Redruth Hospital. Papermaking with Ben Sanderson, tactile and thought-provoking—paper to mush to new paper. Like the sea shapes the coast, we shaped the paper. The journey - to me, reflected the ebb and flow of our sometimes tidal mental health states and how that could be explored through the creative process.

I was captivated by the creativity that flourished in Redruth—a town pulsating with artistic expression.

The Make-A-Mends shop became a source of inspiration, where discarded treasures found new life through skilled craftswomanship.

The Sara(h)s and I chatted about snails, slugs, worms, cats, Bris-wool and Corn-wool and the essence of Cornwall itself—a testament to the resilience of both its people and its art.

Informed and inspired by these experiences, my proposal began to take shape. I envisioned replacing the static "recovery tree" found in each ward with a more fluid installation—a seascape that renewed like a shifting tide.

As the voyage neared its end, I was entranced by the currents of art's ability to touch lives and reshape spaces.

I set sail not only through the sea of creativity but also through the intricate connections and threads spanning from Bristol, UK, to Bristol, USA, to Penzance, with the vibrant creativity found in Redruth - REminding me of the creative community at home in Knowle West.

These connections—whispered through the presence of cats, the resilience of snails, the flow of tides and the artistic heartbeat of Cornwall—remind us of the richness and beauty that art brings to our lives and how important art is to wellbeing, belonging and the voyage of recovery.

Fair winds and inspired brushstrokes, my fellow adventurers. May we continue to explore the depths of creativity, foster connections, and embrace the transformative power of art in our ongoing artistic journeys.

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