Wednesday 22, November 2017

Atopic Art Workshop – Smithton Church, Inverness

Atopic Art Workshop – Smithton Church, Inverness

The final workshop for our Atopic Art project in partnership with Eczema Outreach Scotland took place in Inverness Smithton Church last weekend. Another workshop packed full of messy creativity! It was great for us to see the enthusiasm from the children has continued throughout each workshop showing the endless imaginative creations that can be expressed through paints, pens and clay. The positive response from the children has made the experience all the more rewarding for the artists. Josie and Trevor now have the material they need to collaborate with the designer to create a portable exhibition pack that will promote and engage Eczema awareness in Scotland. Here Trevor gives us an insight into his experience of the workshops and talks about how it was important that his workshops acted as a distraction for the children. He also tells us of a particularly special moment for him during the project so far…

“I was extremely impressed by the proactive nature of the families involved. I have long been aware that there are limited opportunities for messy art play so it was clear they enjoyed giving free rein to their creativity. The stand out moment for me was when a young boy whose hands were quite raw and painful looking pulled on a pair of blue gloves and before his fingers were properly in was bashing away at a huge mound of clay… At times where it was fairly chaotic we managed to get an artistic conveyor belt going producing the kind of free and unselfconscious work only a child can produce. I have heard a lot about distraction techniques when dealing with eczema so I would be delighted to think of the workshops as giant fun filled distractions.”– Trevor Gordon

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Eczema is something that has affected both artists as children meaning they can really relate and empathise with this project on a personal level. Josie gives us her experience so far and tells us of the personal attachment she has with the project…

“The project has been exciting from start to middle! When I first considered the Atopic Art brief, There were certain aspects of it that where particularly important to me. Children with long term eczema are likely to have to manage their conditions for most of their childhoods and some into their adult lives too. This led me to be really clear about my focus- I wanted to consider the emotional aspect of eczema, rather than the scientific, or physical manifestations of the condition. This led me to reflect on my personal experience of the condition, and what I find most challenging about managing it – both as a child and now as an adult. The thing that stands out for me is the challenge that eczema poses when you are trying to sleep- that sore, tickly, frustrated snooze that anyone with eczema will recognize! The piece we have been working on in the Atopic Art workshop aims to encourage reflection on this aspect of the children’s lives, as well as creating a space for them to present their dreams- aspirations, fears, concerns and fantasy! The Atopic Art project has been an amazing opportunity to be involved with… Eczema Outreach Scotland are a fantastic organization- I wish I had had them around when I was wee. The Volunteers are so passionate about the project – they have given up so much time, and buckets of energy, to make it all happen.”- Josie Vallely

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Photos by Sandra Franco

Although a lot less hectic than the previous two workshops the Inverness workshops saw the same level of excitement still filling the space. No matter the size of the group the amount of colour and vibrancy produced by the children from both Josie and Trevor’s workshops has been consistently fantastic to see! Thank you to everyone involved in the workshop stage of this project and we look forward to the outcomes of the next stages.

For more photo from the day visit the ASCUS Facbeook page HERE!

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