Tag Archives: charity

Kindness And Generosity

7 Jan



Last week I said about the charity collection box that was stolen from the nativity scene in front of the Unitarian Church on Swansea’s High Street. The church was raising money for a homelessness charity this year and has had a nativity in a large glass case every Christmas for decades, since I was a very small child. My Mam and Nana and aunties would take me, my little sister and cousins to see it and I remember being so excited, it brought it home to me that it was Christmas. Well, the church set up a crowdfunding appeal to replace the £200 or so that was lost and thanks to peoples’ kindness and generosity, has raised over six times that amount. Please click here if you’d like to donate.

I stopped by and scribbled, en plein air, one of the nativity figures in white, sanguine and black conté crayon into my A4 brown paper sketchbook. For many years, European art colleges taught partly through the copying of classical statues. I find it so difficult to copy another artist’s work and style, the urge to put my own stamp on it is too great, I’m afraid.

Folding And Creasing

3 Jan

origami 1

I spent a pleasant afternoon folding and creasing coloured papers, doing simple origami shapes. I work part time for a national charity that helps homeless people and we made a start today on an art project that’s going to grow over the next few weeks.  Watch this space 😀

Lowest Of The Low

29 Dec


There’s a little Unitarian Church at the bottom of Swansea’s High Street and every year since, well, at least since I was a kid, which is a long time, there has been a glass case with a nativity scene in it and a charity collection box every Christmas. This year, the church has been collecting to support homeless people but someone broke into the collection box and stole the donations. The lowest of the low! What an awful thing to do. They have set up a crowdfunding page to try and raise some money to cover the loss. If you can spare a little and want to donate, please follow the link here.

I stood outside the nativity scene on the street a couple of days ago and had a bit of a scribble on my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet with a Markers app. Here’s Joseph. I find it odd drawing someone else’s art as I want to put my own stamp on it and it looks quite different to the original.

Art In The Cellar

18 Dec

ogof 2

I am so lucky to work as an art tutor for a charity that helps homeless people. I love it and I love using art to communicate with people and to give people a lift, a sense of achievement. This banner has been going for a few weeks now. People can drop in and do a few brushstrokes or work on it for the whole session as they want. But the really important thing is that it engages with people, it draws them in to talk and make contact with the services that can help them.

ogof 1

The venue is in a basement and provides evening meals and a warm, safe place to spend an evening. It’s a Christian venue but is open to everyone in need. Some of the service users wanted to create a banner that welcomed people and at the same time gave an idea what the place stands for. They had to work together to agree on the basic design, the words and images, and I downloaded stencils for most of the imagery as it makes it inclusive to people who can’t, or who feel they can’t, draw.


More Jelly Experiments

4 Nov

I’m continuing top experiment with gel plate printmaking using a Gelli Arts plate. Today I tried it with Essdee block printing ink, staying with Daler Rowney cartridge paper (90gsm) for consistency,

essdee 10

The Essdee inks are easy to use, roll out nicely and take a good texture from bubblewrap and scrunchy tissue paper. The ink prints easy with a firm hand rub but leaves a faint and disappointing ‘ghost’ or secondary image. It cleans off easily with babywipes.

Letting People Play

30 Oct

tree cat

I’m working for a charity that supports very vulnerable people, running arts and craft sessions. I work in different venues across the city and I tailor the sessions to suit them and their clients. This evening was about letting people play. It wasn’t a formal session aiming to teach fine arts or enabling people to turn out a well-crafted item, but a chance to just mess around and have a bit of fun.



I took some lovely chine collé tissue papers made from recycled saris and a couple of boxes of stamps, the ones that kids use, and an ink pad. I encouraged people to try stamping the tissues repetitively to make a pattern and / or to overlay them to get a pictorial effect.



Then we put them into little ready-made mounts which set them off nicely. Quick, cheap, easy and fun. People need to play and those living in dire circumstances often don’t get that chance. Providing a safe space for arts and crafts can give them the opportunity.

Testing Testing One Two Three

29 Oct

The final layered print

I tried out a new printmaking technique today, gel printing with a commercial Gelli plate. It’s part of the equipment I’ve been given for my part-time job running art sessions with people who are homeless and insecurely housed. The instructions just said to use paper and acrylic paint but were no more specific than that so I wanted to try out some of the different acrylic media I have hanging around to see which worked best. First off, water-based printing inks from Seawhite of Brighton. The inks blended well on the plate, took the textures I pressed into them, printed easily onto a basic Daler Rowney cartridge paper (90gms) and cleaned up really well. I used baby wipes on the gel plate and warm water on the roller. Easy peasy.

I also tried the process with two other acrylic media, Liquitex acrylic inks and Winsor & Newton’s Galeria acrylic paints.



The Liquitex inks were too runny for this process and smeared rather than rolled across the plate. They didn’t take the texturing well and quite a bit of ink was left on the plate afterwards. It’s a pity because the colours are gorgeous. The makers recommend trying a heavier Liquitex paint.


Lastly, I used the Winsor & Newton acrylic paints. They felt quite dry while I was rollering them onto the Gelli plate but they seemed to take the textures well. However, the inks didn’t transfer well to the paper, they dried out very quickly and I had trouble cleaning the roller.


The results are okay for a first session. I’m used to doing monotypes onto a hard perspex (plexiglass) surface and I’m not sure whether I would use this technique for my own printmaking, but I need to do more experiments. I can see me using this technique to produce collage papers though. Next time, I think I’ll try with my Caligo Easywash inks and Liquitex Heavy Body acrylic. I’ll let you know …..


I Love It

25 Oct


I work part time for a charity that works with vulnerable people, I run arts and craft sessions. I love it. I really love it. People come in, have a cuppa and some biscuits and do some arty stuff for a couple of hours in a warm, safe place.



We do all sorts of different things and of course, people work at different levels according to their experience. Some people haven’t done any art since school, others have been to art college. Today I set up a simple teaching session on collage (from the French collé meaning ‘to stick’). I cut out some simple stencil shapes for those that wanted to use them and we ripped up loads of small pixels of paper from a stack of magazines and old photographic diaries.

Some background card and a packet of glue sticks and we’re off! There’s a lovely mix of styles and approaches and people seemed genuinely pleased with the experience.

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