Message to Myself

Message to Myself / Survival Techniques

” YAY, I thought I couldn’t write but art work brought it out of me!”

Commissioned by Waltham Forest Council as part of the Great Place Scheme ‘Messages to Myself / Survival Techniques’ was a set of art workshop led by artist Naomi Edmondson and poet Kayo Chingonyi.

Over 6 weeks in the summer of 2018, Waltham Forest residents aged 17+ living with mental health problems were engaged in a variety of artistic expression and thought provoking workshops. Many of the people who attended had not done any art outside of mainstream educational provision and had not been aware of the profound beneficial effect being creative could have on one’s wellbeing.

People arrived in differing states of mental wellbeing.  Everyone was welcomed and joined in.

The project attracted a wide range of age, race and gender from across the borough showing the demand for this kind of project. There have been several positive outcomes: One young man is now back in full time education, one lady is back in full time employment, another started attending regularly art classesthat have proven to help her feel better, one young man regularly volunteers with a local arts charity.

“It’s been a life saver!” says mental health manager about a young participant

Expression and written activities were used to enable participants to find their voice and share their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment.  They were coming up with their very own messages to themselves – simple thoughts and tips which proved to be helpful when they were feeling their worst and that are easily forgotten once people are mentally unwell.

Each week participants were encourage to take home the art they had made as a memory of the moments shared with each other.  A set of 13 postcards was created and distributed around the borough to over 80 locations.  Each postcard tells the story of a real person.

The postcards were displayed as 2- meter high reproductions in a final installation of the participants art work and thoughts at The Mall Shopping Centre in Walthamstow during the E17 Art Trail 1st – 16th June 2019 as “entry number 69a“.