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Spotlight on Claire Hilton

Claire Hilton interviewed by Wendy Simmons. A shorter version can be found on our Instagram account.

Describe your business?
I’m a qualified Art Psychotherapist, Arts in health professional and wellbeing practitioner. That’s my business – but my creative practice is anything I fancy with an emphasis on reusing and recycling as well as ritual and the natural world. 

How did you get into your genre of art?
I like to collect and experiment with different art forms and mixed media. I vary what I do and rarely finish a piece beginning to end in one media. I have lots of inspirations in life and encourage spontaneity and variety in my work. 

What do you enjoy most about your business?
I enjoy working with others when I run wellbeing sessions and the transformative properties of the creative process to explore our experiences in a visual way. Throughout lockdown I was encouraging people to use what they have at home rather than use lack of professional materials to be a barrier. This is very rewarding. 

What is your business’ USP? 
My unique selling point is often my approach. I wrote an article a long time ago for ‘Mixed Up Creative’ online wellbeing course about how important it is to not get hung up on your style or finding a way of working where everything seems related. I like how my work is all mine and yet so different. I can turn my hand to most things and encourage just giving things a go. This is how we grow. Not everything works and that’s OK, but we always learn something from it – through experience. 

Tell us about new projects/creations or products you are working on.
I am currently running a weekly wellbeing studio and have funding to run 10 more weeks of creative group support for adults in the community who feel they would benefit from creative activities. 

In my own practice I’m currently working on some contemporary work with glass vials and cigar boxes (assemblage pieces) as well as some big cat head paintings on wooden panels and incorporating vintage postcards into collages. 

What motivates you? 
I thoroughly enjoy what I do and feel the benefits of regular creative time. I believe that a self directed creative practice can be a real asset to anybody’s mental health. This could also be music writing, or photography. Even dancing! My creative practice helps me to process and distress outside of my clinical psychotherapy work. 

I love collecting things, reusing and recycling vintage pieces, mixing old and new. This contrast really inspires me.

What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Surviving in self employment since 2017 has to be right up there! And through a pandemic. I was very lucky in 2020 to get an Arts Council grant to continue my practice when work was scarce and now I’ve build it all back up again.  I spent many years trying to move out of temporary work into a full time creative career and this has been my reality for a while now. It’s important to recognise when you get to your destination, as well as the journey that leads you there. 

I was really fortunate to be approached to run wellbeing session for NHS stagg during the pandemic via zoom. This was a real pleasure to offer back the time they give to others and help give them some expressive space to reflect and come together. 

If you could go back to your beginning of your career, would you do anything differently?
No I don’t think so. I feel like everything I have done has brought me here and any changes- god knows where I’d end up. There were some years in there I got bogged down in working full time in non-creative sector and in the end I was miserable. I woke up one day and thought, I haven’t painted in years and picked it up again and started making changes towards where I am now. 

Do you have any advice or tips for anyone wanting to get into your type of art/business? 
Value your worth. It’s not just about what something costs but its intrinsic value. As a creative thinker it’s easy to forget that sometimes people don’t think like creatives do, there’s value in that approach and those ideas don’t come easy to some. It’s a skill that’s honed over time and not easily and immediately able to be replicated. 

What books or artists inspire your work?
I love artwork by Frida Khalo, the boxes of Joeseph Cornell. 

My favourite book about creativity is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I recommend it to everyone!

Where can we find you? 
I have a website at www.creatingspacesessions.com and @creatingspacesessions on Facebook and Instagram. 

May Blossom

Christine Skirrow’s ‘Blossom’ painting was inspired by seeing a photo sent in to Central News for their weather report. Unfortunately although Chris managed a screenshot for reference she missed the information about the person who sent it in,  so is unable to credit them for this picture.

It’s painted with various mediums so it’s a mixed media painting. 

 

 

 

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Shakespeare’s Fool

A bronze statue of “The Jester” stands on a stone plinth at the end of Henley Street just a few steps from Shakespeare’s birthplace. “Touchstone” is the character of a jester/fool from the play “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare. There are four quote inscriptions from Shakespearian plays on the plinth:
“O Noble Fool! A Worthy Fool!” (As You Like It)
“The fool doth think he is wise but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” (As You Like It)
Alas! Poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio: A fellow of infinite jest. (Hamlet)
Foolery, Sir does walk about the orb like the sun: it shines everywhere (Twelfth Night)

The statue was commissioned by Anthony P. Bird OBE, a local businessman who gifted it to the town in 1994. The artist was James Walter Butler MBE.

Springtime

Christine Skirrow created this painting for the Spring theme this month. It’s called Springtime,

The picture was inspired by Eades Meadow, and Christine has used Mixed Media to complete it.

 

 

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Spring Flowers

New member Susan Birth has painted spring flowers. 

They are mixed media paintings on paper. Susan used some collage effects in the background and the flowers are painted. They are both 40 x 40 cm.

 

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Primavera (Spring) and Art

Primavera, is a large panel painting in by the Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli made in the late 1470s or early 1480s. It has been described as one of the most written about, and most controversial paintings in the world, and also one of the most popular paintings in Western art. The precise meaning of the painting is unknown, but it was probably created for the marriage of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco, a cousin of the powerful Lorenzo the Magnificent Medici.
The picture illustrates a renewed interest in Greek and Roman mythology.

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