Blue but not Broken

Once in a while a project comes up that aligns personal and professional to perfection.

This video (8 mins) by Gillian Taylor, released in time for Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, captures one of those times.

Led by textile artist Catherine West of Significant Seams, seven makers from in and around Bideford, Devon, experimented with art techniques before co-designing and co-producing a beautiful collective artwork Going With the Flow.

None of the makers had met before. All had recently been affected by isolation, loneliness, bereavement, caring responsibilities and physical or mental health challenges.

The group even helped to select the lead artist.

Stories were shared, tears shed and new friendships forged. Everyone put something of themselves into the final artwork. Going with the Flow reflects firsthand experience of living with isolation, health challenges or poor mental health – and lets those in similar situations know that they are not alone.

The project – which I’ve managed as part of a wider Arts Council funded case study – is close to my heart and it’s worked a dream. Perhaps I’ll have more to say about it as the tears, pride and joy settle…

For now, Going with the Flow can be seen at Torridge Volunteer Centre, 14 Bridgeland Street, Bideford, EX39 2QE. Opening times: Monday-Thursday 09:00-14:00.

Thank you to the art makers: Amy, Anne, Gillie, Hazel, Jean, Lucy and Maureen.

Project Team: Catherine West, Lara Eley, Claire Gulliver with Gillian Taylor and Jim Wileman.

About the wider project
The Blue but not Broken project was part of a Phase One One Northern DevonCulture, Health & Wellbeing Case Study, delivered in partnership with Beaford Arts and the cultural sector. The Case Study responded to local health inequalities which have worsened as a result of the pandemic, and sought to work with those worst affected. It set out to explore how partners in the cultural, NHS healthcare and community sectors could work together to support health and wellbeing. The Case Study was supported using public funding from the National Lottery via Arts Council England and by Devon County Council through TTVS and Councillor Grants.

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