Village Green Festival 2015


Following on from the Creative Journal course I’ve been attending, at Metal Southend, our group was given the opportunity to display our journals and ‘altered books’ at the Village Green Festival on 11 July 2015 in Chalkwell Park. We jumped at the chance.

Metal, with the help of funding, has recently renovated an old stable block into an art school. Located in the centre of the park, with views of the gardens and the sea beyond is where our exhibition was to be held. We visited the venue a few days earlier to drop off our sketchbooks and to check out the space and we were also allocated 1 1/2 hour slots in which we would be invigilating the exhibition and explaining the project to the visitors.


On the day of the festival, I arrived in time for my 12pm start.


We set out the sketchbooks on tables to encourage visitors to handle them. The work is very tactile and we wanted this to be a fundamental part of the user experience.

The festival only opened at 11am, so the exhibition was quiet to begin with, but people were soon wandering in to have a look.


We had visitors of all ages dropping by…


We all thought the exhibition was a huge success and everyone who took part really enjoyed the experience.

village-greenThe rest of the day was spent enjoying the sights and sounds of the festival, including this Indian acrobatic act which was breathtaking!

Happiness mandala workshop


I belong to a local Meetup group that supports small businesses and self-employed people. We meet on a regular basis and its a great opportunity to share ideas or to get advice from like-minded people.

Having been inspired by a couple of recent courses I’d attended I thought I would try running my own creative workshop at one of the Meetup sessions.


The task I set the group was to make their own  mandala that would represent happiness to them. The word mandala can be translated to mean ‘circle’ and it has been used for centuries as a meditation tool. I chose the theme of happiness as we can sometimes forget to be happy and yet it has many benefits which can lead us to be more productive and effective in our lives.

Using magazines, I asked the group to quickly pick images that they liked, it was important that they used their gut instinct, therefore not allowing themselves to think or question their choice.  Once they had a few images they glued them onto their plate, starting in the centre and working outwards, overlapping the edges. The edges were then trimmed to make the mandala. These are some of their lovely creations:


Having created their own piece of happiness I suggested they take their mandalas and put them somewhere where they would see them everyday as a gentle reminder to be happy.