‘Big Feelings’ Glass Cathedrals Workshop

September 2022 | Oxford

Workshops are  definitely outside of my comfort zone. BUT I had my first one in Oxford, last Autumn. It was for a group of facilitators and leaders of At the Bus, my friend Juli Beattie’s magnificent charity that offers a school-based (and double-decker-bus based!) programme of art as therapy in Oxfordshire and London.

My workshop was held for the art therapists and facilitators at the end of two days of professional training. I asked them to each create, in their own cardboard box and with various prompts and lots of bits and bobs, a scene (metaphorical or literal) to express the “Big Feelings” of how it might feel to be a student at At the Bus.

I was hoping the transformative power of Glass Cathedrals – to shift perspectives, inspire empathy and compassion, and express the big with the small – would provide a good medium to depict big emotions, both affirming and difficult. The workshop would also give an insight into the creative process itself – how it can be surprisingly daunting and rewarding to take a leap of faith into the creative flow.

After an introduction to my own creative process and warm-up exercises to get into a helpful headspace, even the most trepidatious participant (actually I think that was me! I was quite nervous!) got stuck right in. I think the resulting artworks were truly inspired.

Plus some comments from the participants:
“I was surprised by how easy it was for an initial idea to snowball into what I eventually designed”
“I can really see how the process of making an art work, which involves being very focussed and present, can channel one’s energy in a positive direction, and lead to positive outcomes!”
“Amazing results in such a short space of time”
“Such a lovely way to end the day of training on a high note, which involved quite a few heavy topics”