Updated: Apr 25
I know I'm not great at keeping my website up to date, I just love creating art and poetry too much, so I thought I'd share some recent creative highlights in one place.
Poetry and Art
64 Million Artists
I have been joining in with the January Challenge run by 64 Million Artists for at least 6 years, it's been a huge part of my creative journey. Last year they asked me if I would like to set a challenge myself, and I obviously jumped at the opportunity. My challenge was day 2 - an invitation to try automatic drawing without using your eye sight. It was a complete joy to see people join in, enjoy the process and create beautiful pieces of art.
64 Million Artists then asked me if I'd like to collaborate with them to bring The January Challenge to more people. I immediately knew that I wanted to facilitate a space for people who are disabled or chronically ill to experience the benefits of creativity. You can read my vision for this here
It was a huge privilege to facilitate a group of over 60 people getting creative in January and the group is continuing to journey with weekly challenges.
It is wonderful to be part of the leadership team of YouBelong - a Christian community for disabled and chronically ill people. My role is primarily creative with art, poetry, retreat materials and prayers.
My book, 40 crosses to colour in, was really popular with our members and I've continued to offer colouring images on our Bible theme each month.
Psalm Haikus and Paintings
There are 150 Psalms in the Bible so it's perhaps not surprising that it's taken me almost 2 years to write a haiku and create a painting for every single one. In the end I set myself the deadline of Easter 2023 and I completed the set two weeks early. I'm still not entirely sure how I will share the project in its entirety because colour printing is too expensive to make an affordable book. It is more likely that psalm haikus will become a book, possibly in collaboration with some other haiku writers, and the paintings will be available online. Time will tell so watch this space, in the meantime - why not have a look at The Gospel in 17 Syllables which has a Haiku for every gospel reading of the Church of England 3 year lectionary. This project was led by Andy Campbell with haiku written by himself, Rachel Summers and me.
Caring for Creation Together at Chester Cathedral
This is both a highlight and a low light but I'm including it because my creativity was on show, even if I wasn't asked or appropriately credited. Let me explain ....
In February 2023 a friend visited Chester Cathedral where Gaia was on display. She messaged me after her visit to say how thrilled she was to see my poetry and paintings from my book Caring for Creation Together on display in the Cathedral. I thought she must have been confused but she shared photos which very clearly showed pages from my book on display on 6 monitors around the Cathedral. I was thrilled to have my creativity on show but disappointed that I hadn't been asked or credited. Over several weeks I tried to get to the bottom of what had happened and asked to be credited, however the cathedral staff stopped communicating with me and once the Gaia exhibition was over it seemed pointless to keep wasting my energy.
Edited to share this photo of my art and poetry on screens in Chester Cathedral which was sent to me by another friend who visited - my name was on the digital installation which is wonderful to see. Thanks Helen.
I am encouraged that my creativity might have moved people to think about how they can get involved in climate justice.
I am one of the collaborators of the 45 days pop-up gallery and creative space created online in Lent 2023.
Each of us have shared a piece of art, poetry, music, photography, reflection about our faith and together formed an amazing gallery or creativity. Please do go and check it out.
I have had poems and paintings included in issues 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of Wishbone Words magazine - a creative writing magazine by and for chronically ill and disabled writers and artists. I've also just heard that I will have at least one painting and poem in issue 10.
If you haven't read this online magazine please do check it out.
Outside In Gallery
Outside In provides a platform for artists who encounter significant barriers to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation. They invited me to join and host my art and poetry on their platform.
I have been amazed how many organisations and individuals have contacted me after seeing my gallery and am incredibly thankful for these opportunities.
In November 2022 I was one of the creatives running a session at the online Fieldmoot conference. Fieldmoot is the online version of the Hutchmoot conference in Nashville organised by The Rabbit Room. Both being places about the intersection of creativity and faith.
My session was about my practice of praying and painting every morning and it was wonderful to encourage other people to give it a go and to hear the way it has blessed them.
Redeeming our Cracks by Wild Goose Publications, edited by Neil Paynter
This book is a fabulous resource for everyone thinking about faith and mental health.
Redeeming our Cracks was published in March 2023 and includes a chapter of my poetry about mental health. The book is described as "Liturgical and practical resources from Iona Community members, friends and others designed to create more awareness and understanding about mental health."
Paper Birds Platinum Jubilee Project
I was invited to share some of my haiku at the Paper Birds Platinum Jubilee Project in Leigh Spinners Mill near Wigan.
The Haiku were hand written on pieces of paper and attached to origami birds hung from the ceiling of this old mill. I provided one haiku about birds, one about mills and a third about nature. The exhibition was launched at the end of March for two weeks. You can read more about the project here and here and here
Seasonal Droughts Poem published in The Paper Crow Literary Journal.
It was a thrill to hear that my poem "Seasonal Droughts" was to be included in this prestigious journal and it has encouraged me to keep submitting my creativity to different places, though I still won't pay to submit anything.
I have realised that over the last few years I have written dozens of blessings, mostly poetic in form but not exclusively. I have taken them time to collate these blessings and have even submitted some to a few publishers who are creating anthologies of blessings. I don't know what will come of this but think this is a strand of my poetry which will be growing.
Grayson's Art Club Series 3 Exhibition at Midlands Art Centre in Birmingham.
My painting of Queen Elizabeth II is in this exhibition until 25 June 2023. It was wonderful to be at the launch and I hope to return to really take it all in before it ends.
Cover Art for Pathways Magazine Winter 2022/23
It was wonderful to be contacted by the publisher's of Pathways Magazine to ask if they could purchase my art for the cover image of the winter edition. I had to pinch myself.
Reading Guild of Artists Exhibition at Royal Berkshire Hospital. For 10 weeks from February I have 3 paintings on display at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Readin
I chose bright and cheerful paintings knowing that that's what I want to find when I'm in hospital.
Organised by Leslee and Mary, of Reading's Last Gas Tower Art Exhibition fame, curate artwork by local artists in unusual spaces around Reading, This exhibition at St Luke's Redlands Church in Reading was a huge success in March 2023.
I had these 3 paintings on display and got lots of positive feedback.
Create a Buzz Art Map
I created this art map for The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) in Reading for their Create a Buzz Project. The map shows the lack of green space in a corridor from East to Central Reading, helping children to understand the problems faced by Bees locally. Apparently the kids loved the colours I used.
Save Reading Gaol
The fight continues to create an art space in the disused Reading Gaol.
I don't have the energy to march with the campaign so I have created this drawing to raise awareness and interest.
This is a month-long creative practice network for artists to make a new piece of work every day during April 2023.
My only issue is whether I can get internet access in Wales because if you don't upload a piece of art on a day then you are out of the project.
Twitter Art Exhibition
My painting of a view across the River Thames to Big Ben and Houses of Parliament at sunset has arrived in Canada for the Twitter Art Exhibition.
I hope people enjoy it and that it raises money for the charity.
Easter Art for All Exhibition in Romford, Essex. Over 20 of my paintings will be displayed digitally at this fabulous exhibition organised by the Salvation Army in Romford.
The theme is "New Life - New for Old". I was asked if there was any music I'd like to accompany my inspiration, my choices were "Spring" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons and "Here comes the sun" by The Beatles.
Tangle All Around: Our Art, Our Journey
I have four artworks included in the latest zentangle book by Alice Hendon. Alice is a great encourager of Artists and I am honoured to be included in her book.
Reading Guild of Artists Annual Report
Above is the article I wrote about the Sense of Space exhibition at South Hill Park and the audio descriptions which were provided.
Then this page from the annual report includes my "special mention" for the Marie Dyson Award for 3d art for my piece "Invisible".
It has been a wonderfully encouraging experience joining the Reading Guild of Artists and I'm really thankful for the members who have welcomed me and my push for inclusion.
Spring Flowers Exhibition at St Nicolas Church in Earley
8 of my paintings will be on display in this exhibition starting at Easter. There will be a host of colourful spring flower artworks on display so it's well worth paying it a visit.
When I had the idea for this article I thought there were a few things to share, turns out I've been busier than I imagined - which might explain my fatigue.
You might be wondering what next Emma?
I have art in 7 exhibitions over the coming months and I'm sure more might emerge
I have three big creative ideas in development which are about issues close to my heart - I don't know whether they might be just art or art and poetry or something else entirely.
I want to visit more art galleries and keep being inspired by other people's creativity.
I will be running more poetry competitions on instagram after the popularity of sharing my art to inspire haiku.
I might be taking part in a local art trail but it all depends on dates
I will keep creating because it gives me energy, connects me to God in prayer and is the most effective way I've ever found of coping with pain
If you've read this far you deserve a medal.
Thanks for reading and encouraging me,