Friday 21 February 2020 22.25
Photo courtesy of space2grow
On Wednesday I met up with the delightful chap who is project managing a community garden not far away, called space2grow. At its core is the wish to provide a space for people who may be facing challenges in their lives, or who need some unwinding time, to simply enjoy being in the outdoors, to have a garden to tend where perhaps they otherwise wouldn’t, to be with other people, forget their problems for a while, chat together, have fun and foster a feeling of community.
This is very much what I’m wanting to do with the Drop-in and Draw spaces. They’re using gardening, my idea uses drawing, but the whole ethos of a free space that is available to everyone, and the fostering of a community by taking part in a gentle, positive, creative pastime is the same.
When I visited on Wednesday, the usual volunteer gardening had been cancelled due to the fact the garden was completely flooded by the nearby stream overnight. The ground had mostly drained by the time I got there, but there had been some disruption and damage. The ground was completely sodden and muddy, most of the plants in their bare winter state, the weather was grey, with a chill wind, and persistent drizzly rain. and the whole area was – quite beautiful.
We had a squelchy wander around and I was blown away by what they’ve done so far, and excited by all they have planned. We chatted for an hour and a half, and I tried to clarify a few details while explaining that at this stage all I had was an idea.
To my absolute joy I came away with the enthusiastic agreement to my setting up the first Drop-in and Draw space for them, based in the beautifully renovated wooden pavilion!
This whole idea of a Drop-in and Draw space stemmed from me having a picture in my mind of a bunch of happy people, quietly working away in a public space, with paper and pens, drawing. My original thought was the unused area that used to be a cafe space in our local shopping centre. It was a practical choice, but far from beautiful. I couldn’t have dreamed of a more beautiful space than this garden and its pavilion.
It’s early days. and when I explained that this is still just an idea and not that i already have a group of people and was just looking for a venue, we agreed it would fit perfectly to simply add the drawing opportunity to what is already on offer to the existing users of the garden, ie the volunteers and other local groups. It’s perfect! And the garden and its surroundings, changing as they do throughout the year, make the perfect subject to draw.
If I can encourage others to, maybe for the first time, pick up a pencil and draw, and if they enjoy doing so and find it beneficial, I shall be very happy.
On the Drawing4Health website I’ve done quite a bit more, in particular adding some of my early drawings as background and featured images. I was hesitating to add current drawings as I felt they wouldn’t give the right impression. It’s important not to make it about producing ‘good’ drawings; it’s about the process and how that is beneficial, not the results. Then I remembered some of my very first sketchbooks from five years ago.
The website is still not launched publicly yet as I want to be more clear – firstly in my own mind, and then literally in the site itself – on the aims and content (for example I’m considering including the prospect of, in time, a growing database of Drop-in and Draw spaces around the country). There are lots of possibilities!