It's always been my mission as an Art teacher, to debunk the myth that being able to draw is left to a gifted few who are born with an almost divine trait. You can teach anyone a few simple tricks and ways of seeing to enable them to create something they thought was beyond their abilities.
Woodford affords me an opportunity to do that in a unique environment. It seems to be a place of bravery, where it is OK to have a go at anything; eat untried things, wear what you want in a time-warp heaven, dance even if you're awkward, sing out loud though you may be tuneless, all without being judged.
In fact it’s encouraged.
Within Woodford is the village of "Artisania", a place that allows people to try arts and crafts that they wouldn't normally. Usually due to fear, self doubt, or a lack of time in their daily lives. Lots of people in the classes say they did art back in school and really enjoyed it, but had to move on in their lives, but the art kept niggling at them, leaving a lasting impression that they often wondered about.
And in the non-threatening Woodford environment, where time slows down, where you can explore and are encouraged to have a go, they feel safe and comfortable enough to reconnect with those nagging questions.
You get young kids and grandparents, practicing artists, mums that finally have time, stick-figure beginners, men who have wanted to try but felt it was effete, all end up creating works that delight and surprise themselves.
In the workshops everyone is an equal.
And at the end of a class, there is always gratitude and appreciation for what they have learnt. A number of people tell me they are going go back to their communities and enrolling in art classes, that they have discovered a confidence that was lacking a few hours ago.
Thank you to all the great students who took a risk, and became artists for a few hours. May you continue to work on your creativity and develop what lies within.
I love Woodford!