Force Cancer Support Group
Force Cancer Support Centre | Expressive art workshops 2007 saw the first expressive art group come together at the FORCE Centre, and proved to be very successful.
For some time in the Centre there seemed to me to be a need for a chance for Centre users to express themselves, alongside the ‘talk or touch’ therapies like counselling or complementary therapies that were already in existence. To this end, the Centre was able to secure a research grant from the Foundation of Nursing Studies’ Developing Practice Small Projects Programme which enabled the purchase of materials and secured the services of Sarah Gillard to help facilitate the group.
The group offered the opportunity to be creative, and to have the chance to ponder, doodle, sketch and create their own art in a quiet informal and relaxing environment.
In eight fortnightly sessions, the group explored themes such as textures, colour and tone, collage, moods and atmospheres using a wide variety of materials such as pastels, oils, acrylics, chalks and sometimes lots of glitter. One of the joys of the group was that, as one member said, ‘there were no expectations that we were artistic, but it is a space to try art mediums.’
The process of expression often proved to be as important as the finished product, although with Sarah’s gentle guidance the group members often felt proud of their achievements.
The group produced a rich, varied and colourful body of work and also, as an unexpected extra, enjoyed a visit to the Tate St. Ives and Barbara Hepworth studio.
"In relation to my cancer, participating in expressive art is not going to cure me, but it’s fun, it’s given me a dimension and quality to my life. My brain has been immersed in colour, shape and texture and a lively and witty banter with new colleagues. What a wonderful escape from treatments, appointments, chemo sessions and all the other constraints imposed necessarily on cancer patients. It’s also good to know we’re not alone on our isolating and isolated journeys but good too not to have ‘cancer’ as the focus of our meetings."
"This group has had a really powerful effect on me- shame I had to have cancer to discover the joys and delights of art."