NHS Forth Valley Patients Get Creative with Free Art Bag

Patients in Forth Valley hospitals are being invited to pick up their brushes and paint, courtesy of a free Creative Art Bag provided by the charity Artlink Central.

The bags include art materials, such as colours, brushes and different types of paper, and come with an ideas sheet for inspiration. They are being introduced due to the cancellation of face to face workshops during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

The bags are designed to stimulate creativity so there is total freedom in how participants decide to use the materials; the only important thing is to have fun and be inspired. To help keep the creative juices flowing, Artlink Central’s artists Aya Iguchi-Sherry and Alan Bryden are also holding an online workshop with some suggestions and tips on how to use the bags.

Also included in the bag is the new Hope House Creative Colouring Book, which Aya Iguchi-Sherry produced after an 8-week Artlink Central project with residents of Hope House at Bellsdyke Hospital. The project explored shapes, lines and forms through a variety of media and processes, from Haiku poetry to calligraphy and photography. The book is seen as a celebration of individuality and creativity, and it is hoped that placing it in the art bag will inspire participants to follow their own artistic journey.

Artlink Central Director Kevin Harrison said: “Because of Covid-19 most of our programme of events has had to be moved online. But one of the joys of working with patients face-to-face was seeing how they responded to arts therapy and how it encouraged them to be creative. We thought that an arts bag was the answer for some of our patients, who we know are missing the time they spend with us. With all the restrictions, its vital that we keep minds active and encourage people to use art as a way of not only expressing their own individuality, but also as a relaxing way of relieving stress.”

The Creative Art Bags are available for free and can be booked via Silvia Sinibaldi at silvia@artlinkcentral.org. Patients can either self-refer or be referred by staff.

Beyond the Blue by Frances Douglas at Forth Valley Royal Hospital

‘Beyond the Blue’ by Frances Douglas at Forth Valley Royal Hospital

Meanwhile the exhibition programme at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, which is organised by Artlink Central, is continuing. ‘Beyond the Blue’, which features work by local artist Frances Douglas, has just opened in the atrium and will be displayed until the end of November 2020. ‘Beyond the Blue’ is Frances’ interpretation of the 100 Days Project Scotland, for which she set herself the challenge to paint a postcard-sized watercolour, using just the colour blue, each day for 100 days during lockdown. Frances painted a variety of subjects, from everyday objects to beautiful open views, reminding us to look for beauty in everything despite the ‘blue’ times we are living.

More exhibitions will be installed over the next few weeks. For updates on the arts programme within NHS Forth Valley, follow Artlink Central on Facebook and Instagram @artlinkcentral.