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Multimedia artist Andrea Turner’s Come and Create sessions at Edinkillie Hall are improving wellbeing

By Garry McCartney

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FREE art and singing sessions in a local village hall are improving wellbeing.

Funded by tsiMORAY and the Scottish Government, and run by multimedia artist Andrea Turner, ‘Come and Create’ provides a space for self-expression and companionship at Edinkillie Hall for anyone, including people experiencing health issues or struggling in school, facing loneliness, social isolation and rurality.

Andrea Turner in her studio.Picture by Kate Bewick
Andrea Turner in her studio.Picture by Kate Bewick

Andrea was appointed as Small Halls Artist in Residence at Edinkillie Hall by Findhorn Bay Arts’ Combine to Create project in July 2022 - following its success, the Edinkillie Hall committee funded a further project in 2023 and this year secured funding from the Moray Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund to run a further 10 sessions.

Andrea said: “They are going really well. I’ve been delighted by the number of people making the effort to attend.

“The participants have created a safe and supportive community. The quality of the conversations around the table is special and heart-warming.”

‘Draw, Write, Sing’ sessions from 2-4pm on Wednesdays invite attendees to be creative in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. They choose which activities to take part in and are also welcome to bring their own projects.

Happy with her creation!
Happy with her creation!

Art and writing materials, as well as refreshments are provided, and songs are suggested by Andrea or the participants themselves. Conversation is as important as the work produced.

“A wide age range of people have been attending,” added Andrea, “from a baby aged four months upwards!”

‘Walk, Write and Draw’ are taught workshops on Sundays from 2-4.30pm aimed at adults. Participants start by practicing writing warm-ups and drawing techniques, before walking a short way into the woods behind the hall.

“I encourage them to look deeply,” said Andrea. “To notice the details of this beautiful place. We sketch and write, then return to the hall for refreshments and to share our work.“

She added: “People with mobility challenges can opt to work from ‘The Breathing Space’ on the Dava Way behind Edinkillie Hall.”

A participant sketching in the wood behind the hall.
A participant sketching in the wood behind the hall.

All of the sessions so far have been well attended, with a maximum of 10 allowed at each.

Andrea said: “We have regulars and several new faces each week. We have all age groups from babies to elders and everyone in between! People have come from Forres, Findhorn, Burghead, Cullen, Grantown-on-Spey and Nairn in spite of the generally grey, damp and chilly weather which has also joined us!”

Edinkillie Community Association is bringing life back into the hall, and, following covid, the numbers attending its activities are rising.

Andrea said: “Holding workshops here offers the opportunity for people living locally to access activities, while enlivening the peaceful and secluded hall that has been central to its community in the past.”

Art by participant Lisa Mitchell.
Art by participant Lisa Mitchell.

The attendees take home their writing and artworks.

“The workshops are about process and participation rather than product,” explained Andrea. “Friendship and conversations are at their heart.”

She finished: “Feedback has been positive with many participants saying they are the highlight of their week. The sessions help them feel valued and provide a sense of belonging, as well as being relaxing, fun and friendly!

“Attendees have gained confidence and skill, particularly in their writing.”

Happy with her creation!
Happy with her creation!

One previously anxious attendee said: “My mind was very busy then I started playing with colour, shape and texture. By the end of the session I was relaxed, chatting and having fun. Brilliant!”

Another said: “It’s great to be among a lovely group of people. The sessions really help me to unwind.”

Participant Margaret Souter’s painting.
Participant Margaret Souter’s painting.

The current round of Come and Create sessions are coming to an end but Edinkillie Community Association hopes to secure funding for more sessions in the coming year.

To book a place or for more information email andreaturnerarts@gmail.com, call 07846 048680 or visit www.andreaturner-artandjazz.co.uk.

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