I was contacted a few weeks ago by a lovely lady, Debra, who runs a place nearby in East Sheen, called the Artyard, asking if I was interested in running some mosaic workshops. I clicked on the Artyard website and immediately started doing internal skips and hops of excitement! One real time visit yesterday with my little Toby and I am now hooked.
Artyard is a space that every community should have. It is a creativity zone for children, for children and their families and for adults. The physical environment is evidence of the much fun that has clearly been had over the years, as well as a testament to clever design and the spirit of re-purposing and upcycling. The programme of creative work offered, from Family Making sessions (popcorn provided!), box art workshops, print making and seasonal events to mother and tots craft sessions and “Cocktail and Canvases” on Friday evenings (mmmm….make mine a mojito!).
Imagine if every community had a creative space like this – where using your hands and your heart where a normal way of spending your free time, socialising, developing as a person and dealing with the ups and downs of life. Think arty parties for grown ups (not just for children!), a place to help to you celebrate and mark big events (with a special creation to take away at the end). Think self-help for individuals and groups. Think soothing of the soul during tough times. An alternative to the TV, the bottle, the anti-depressant – all those things we as a society use to numb our souls instead of making them come alive and sing.
Yes, I think the Artyard and other places like it are more than just a bit of fun (well, a lot of fun by the looks of it!). I think they can be the kind of places that create community, well-being and a whole bunch of humans that are fully alive, skilled-up and developing.
If you are in London or in the Southern home counties, why not consider Artyard as a place to go, not just with children, but for yourself – for some ‘me time’. Artyard is having an Open Day between 11am- 8pm on Thursday 4th November. Check it out and if you are a London blogger – please do spread the word.