I spent a morning with Frances – the co-Director of Drywater Arts – an arts/ wellbeing hub in Amble in Northumberland especially friendly to those with dementia and their careers today and I really want to share this little gem with the world…

The space is an incredible find and so necessary in this little part of our magical but often lacking in artsy spaces to play corner of the globe – light, bright and warm multi functional space with tonnes of parking and felt so welcoming from the first few moments of being there.

And there’s a clear intention for that with the organisation also advertising themselves as a “warm hub” for those who find the cost of fuel prohibitive in winter to come and enjoy warmth and conversation.

Add freshly brewed coffee and homemade pear cake to the mix and I couldn’t have been more content to spend a January morning doing some creative and learning more about the space and it’s programmes and how I might partner with them in the future.

I’d signed up to receive emails and updates noticing there was both arts and wellbeing/ yoga activity happening under one roof at the end of last year. A couple of weeks ago an email popped into my inspirations inbox which I just use for exciting mails and I noticed there was an opportunity to learn book making techniques in a workshop!

I am a HUGE fan of notebooks and I feel I have tried so many ‘shop bought’ ones for different projects and work plans… I’m ready to move away from that and more into creating something that works with the way I organise my life… I’ve given myself a year to figure this out using lots of different ways to unlock what I need and what serves my life best!

With a big goal – it helps me if I look at lots of different ways in to getting there… I am interested in the creative process of making a notebook that then feels like we want to write in it… and can’t stop or at the other end of the scale – a notepad that doesn’t sing to us or feels too “nice” to write in…

I was happy to leave perfectionism at the door and bring some of my “messy” creativity to the process of bookmaking with Frances who was SUCH an encouraging teacher. Messy creativity this time including wobbly punched holes, ink slip stained pages and a Saturday with the S upside down!

Perfect! The last time I was taught something creative (which wasn’t very long ago) I was told I wasn’t very artistic. I was partly hurt and partly fired up and fueled to help more people unlock their own creativity and make sure even if someone else wanted to tell them they weren’t artistic to know that as humans almost everything we do is both an artistic and creative act. Anyway… small rant aside… I maybe should have used my voice to answer back at the time!

With Frances, I learnt how to print with Japanese rice paper, used letter press to print 52 individual week pages and how to punch and stitch my book together hiding my messy “mistakes” as a went! It was an absolute joy from start to finish!!

Check out what else Drywater Arts have got going on this year – there workshops are very affordable – my ticket for all of this tuition, materials, coffee and cake cost just £20 and the experience and skills I’ve learnt will stay with me a lifetime!!

Have you diaried into try anything new yet this year? I’d love to know how it’s going for you!