I also facilitate art & grief workshops. These specialist creative sessions provide an opportunity for those who are struggling to come to terms with an emotional loss to express their feelings via the mediums of drawing and fabrics.
In one workshop I worked closely with a whole year 6 group at a local primary school, where so many of the pupils were struggling after the loss of their teacher. Each child was invited to share their feelings and their personal memories of the incredibly popular and much loved teacher. Each child created 2 textile pieces (with some drawing) that expressed their feelings of the past year and the other piece was based on their future dreams and aspirations . We also asked them if they had any concerns over the forthcoming big change; the move to secondary school and if they did this feeling could be included in the work as well.
When all the pieces were completed I took them home and created a large wallhanging. I was delighted when I was invited back, to see it displayed with pride of place in the school. It looked amazing and all the children were so proud of their achievements. And I was so proud of them.
Last summer I ran an art & grief workshop this time for 5 children in another local primary school. These children were struggling to come to terms with the tragic loss of their very dear school friend. This time my workshop focused on the children creating their very own special 'Friend Buddy', inspired by the good and happy memories they had of their school friend.
As I anticipated, it was a very quiet 1st session with everyone feeling shy, nervous and of course they were all incredibly sad. The next 3 sessions were eye-opening for me as the children all came into their own. The group supported each other, not just technically as some were more confident with drawing, designing and sewing than others but emotionally they were there for each other too.
I asked the children to think about all the things that reminded them of their dear friend. With these things in mind I purchased fabrics that were suggestive of these topics. I demonstrated how to create, with handsewing, their 'Friend Buddy' and before they got down to the sewing I also taught them how to design. The children were brilliant and all of them created wonderful, extremely personal, 'Friend Buddies'.
Last week I bumped into one of the girls' mums who asked me to pop into the shop where her daughter was. I didn't know whether the young girl would remember me, but she did and she said - "I still have my buddy and he sits next to my bed". I was moved by that revelation. Her mum said that the 'buddy' was a powerful 'cloth comforter' which held on to the lovely memories of her daughter's school friend who had died.
Helping people work through their grief, (sometimes with the help of art) can often be so incredibly therapeutic for them and unbelievably rewarding for me.
I am delighted to be able to support my clients with their emotional wellbeing through the GRM programme, with the Bespoke Cloth Keepsake service being an extra option where something we hold close can help and comfort us through sad or difficult times.
Dawn worked with us over the course of a year on a very specific project relating to memories and thoughts for the future during a very emotional and difficult period in the schools life. We were all grieving over the loss of a treasured member of school with our oldest children particularly affected. The Art & Grief workshop led by Dawn became an instrumental part of the grieving and the recovery process. She has the most incredibly passion, kindness and thoughtfulness and a very special way of drawing out the difficult things while promoting the positives. Art was the medium but this alone would not have had the same affect. It was Dawn’s personality that gave it such a vibrant and positive feel and one that the children gained so much from.
Dawn is certainly a talented artist but much more. It was a pleasure and a privilege to have worked with and alongside Dawn.
School Art & Memory Workshop
Loss & Wellbeing Specialist
To book an appointment or for an informal chat about whether this is the right path for you, please contact me on:
opening hours: 10am-7pm Monday-Friday