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art as therapy july 2018

A group of local aspiring artists have come together to exhibit paintings, drawings and mixed media artworks.

All of the exhibitors have engaged in art therapy. The selected artworks communicate something of the artists’ experiences and their developing confidence in self-expression through art-making.

‘Making art helps me because I can put my thoughts into a picture or painting’

‘I like coming to art therapy as it helps me get everything out’

‘Art takes away the stress from illness’

‘I like the calmness of the environment’

It is easier to release stress when I come to art therapy sessions. I can talk about things that I might not talk about to care staff’

The power of the arts in promoting health and wellbeing has received increased attention. Research has demonstrated the positive benefits of engaging in the arts whether as a participant or spectator. 

The Enfield Integrated Learning Disability Service has offered Art Therapy to adults with learning disabilities for over 20 years. Art Therapy is a form of psychotherapy in which art materials are the primary means of communication and self-expression. Art Therapists are state-regulated health professionals who work in a variety of settings including the NHS, social services and schools. 

The benefits of art therapy and participatory arts within health and social care have been highlighted by the report Creative Health (2017). The culmination of a two-year inquiry by the All-Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, the report is available online at

For information on the Enfield Integrated Learning Disability Service see

For information on Art Therapy see

The Art is Therapy exhibition runs at the Dugdale from 3rd to 15th July.  Free Admission.
More details at

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ceramic jewellery made in broomfield conservatory

Cathy Taylor of Friends of Broomfield Park ran a workshop last October to teach people how to use leaves from the park to make unique items of ceramic jewellery. Cathy has now fired the visitors' creations and, if you were one of the artists, you can now collect them from Broomfield Conservatory.

The Conservatory is open on Wednesday and Sundays only, between 2pm and 4pm.  Just call in, admire the plants and collect your items of jewellery from the stewards on duty.

Cathy took photographs of some of the items - but she says that the actual jewellery items are much more beautiful, the photos don't do them justice.  However, they do give the rest of us a chance to see what can be done.

ceramic jewellery made in broomfield conservatory

To see more photographs, click on the Read More link below.

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palmers green art group logoPalmers Green Art Group started 12 years ago to help a group of amateur artists nurture and develop their artistic skills in an informal and friendly environment. The group has changed over the years as different people have come and gone. Originally focused on watercolour, members now work in a variety of painting and drawing media, reflecting a diversity of individual styles and preferences. We do not offer formal tuition but enjoy an atmosphere of creativity, encouragement and support from each other.

The group meets every Wednesday evening from 7.30 – 9.30pm in the Alexandra Room of the Ruth Winston Centre in Palmers Green. There is a sink for water and washing out brushes etc. for those working in water soluble media and we have a dedicated cupboard where we keep a supply of paper, boards, water pots etc. and reference material for members to use. Artwork can be stored from week to week if required.

There is a termly fee to cover the cost of hiring the room. This will vary from time to time according to the number of members in the group.

If you are interested in joining the group or would like more information please call Graham Bray on 020 8363 9085 or text  Mobile: 07724 672447

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Bigger, brighter and bolder, the UK’s largest light festival is returning for a spectacular second edition. More than 40 UK and international artists will reimagine London’s iconic architecture and streets, transforming the city into a dazzling nocturnal art exhibition. Free to visit and taking place north and south of the River Thames, Lumiere London will extend its reach across the capital. Everyone is invited. To find out more, click here to visit the Lumiere London website.

Lumiere London runs from 18th to 21st January.

Commissioned by the Mayor of London.

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David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3513 10 Jan 2018 09:13
Love catching the West End pieces, might try alter my ride home to pick up one or two others.

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Following two exhibitions nearer to home, Palmers Green artist Patrick Samuel's work goes on show this week at a cinema and gallery in east London.

clash of the icons jan 2018 2

Clash of the Icons
An exhibiition by Patrick Samuel
12 December 2017 - 16 January 2017
Genesis Cinema, 93-95 Mile End Rd, London E1 4UJ

Exhibition Launch

12 December 2017 at 7pm

Patrick will also be showing a short film about his creative journey since he started his daily art therapy in December 2016, as well as playing music he composes when he is not painting and drawing.

Tickets (free)

Some of Patrick's pictures were among those on show outside Broomfield Park during this year's Palmers Green Festival.  More recently, Patrick's first solo exhibition, Escape and Return, was held at the Dugdale Centre in Enfield Town, as the opening event in Enfield's bid to become London Borough of Culture 2018.

Patrick's second solo exhibition consists entirely of pictures created exclusively for Clash of the Icons, which opens on 12th December at the Genesis cinema in Mile End.

With Clash of the Icons, Patrick invites his audience to celebrate the clash of iconic movie characters and scenes. His new paintings and drawings blend familiar characters with unfamiliar settings, as well as merge heroes and villains in unexpected ways. An ironic look at cinema hits, Clash of the Icons also reflects on Patrick’s favourite stories, albeit not very seriously.

An affinity for film classics

Movies have been one of Patrick’s life-long passions. An aficionado from an early age, he watched films from many genres, developing an affinity for film classics, horror and science fiction in later years.

In 2009, he founded the independent film journal Static Mass Emporium ( where he and his friends write about their favourite movies and TV shows.

Much of Patrick’s artistic inspiration also stems from the movies he’s seen; Clash of the Icons takes quite a different view at the big screen and its icons, just as he often imagines them.

Embracing neurodiversity

Patrick is an artist with Asperger’s Syndrome. Having returned to art after a 20-year break, he picked up painting and drawing again when he started his daily art therapy in December 2016. A time of prolific work as well as recognition followed, and Patrick has embraced his neurodiversity as a gift rather than seeing it as a disability; he’s found his voice and his calling.

Patrick has produced an extensive portfolio in a wide range of genres and media. Being on the autistic spectrum, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick is working primarily with pastels, graphite pencils and acrylics, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, glass and oil paints.

Patrick’s work and his story have been recognised in local media, and meanwhile featured in magazines as well as on BBC Breakfast and BBC News online.

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bohem taproom mural with zdenek petr and andreaAndrea Aste (centre) with Zdeněk Kudr and Petr Skoček of Bohem Brewery. Behind them you can see part of Andrea's Myddleton Road muralThe hot news from today's Myddleton Road Market (apart, that is, from the £925 raised at the market for the North London Samaritans' Shaftesbury Hall project) is the launch this week of Andrea Aste's Space Laboratory - a "cyber store where imagination curates space".

andrea aste big spender"Big Spender" - one of Andrea Aste's print designsAndrea is an Italian-born mural artist whose work adorns both a 5-star restaurant in Milan and the rather more down-to-earth, but nearer to home, Bohem Brewery Tap Room in Myddleton Road.  That's not to say that the murals in the Tap Room are down-to-earth - they're perfect examples of Andrea's quirky approach, transforming an otherwise unexceptional room into a unique social space (Bohem's beer also assists in this process).

The "Space Laboratory" is Andrea's new online shop, selling prints and posters (A1 down to A3), greetings cards and an extraordinary pack of Tarot cards, "designed to look like it was created during the era of the master alchemists".  There are also mugs produced by another Myddleton Road artist, Lucy Whitehead.

big launchSpecial Big Launch offer

Through skilful use of the dark arts of Tarot and alchemy coupled with knowledge of European languages, Palmers Green Community has deciphered the secret code that will take 20 per cent off Space Laboratory prices.

Use the code VENTI#20 (for a limited time only, and not including Andrea Aste Originals or Signed and Limited Editions).

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PatrickSamuel 233x300Hello everyone at Palmers Green Community,

My name is Patrick, I live in Palmers Green (since 2004) and I am autistic. My condition is challenging and complex but over the past 6 months I have been finding a lot of peace and happiness in art and art therapy. It's been reducing the irritability and aggression, along with the effects of marked anxiety and low mood, which I am also diagnosed with. I am supported by Enfield Complex Care, the Maudsley Hospital and the National Autistic Society, and was given a lot of help by my local MP to get access to advice, care and treatment.

I thought to get in touch and send you something I wrote for you about how art therapy has helped me, how it's getting me outside and helping me with my social skills too. Along with art, I have also become a spokeperson for autism awareness and have given talks at The Autism Show and I have a few more coming up. I am trying to get my story out there as much as I can and will be featured in next month's National Autistic Magazine and my local newspaper is running an interview too.

In addition to that, I also have my first solo exhibition coming up in November at the Dugdale Centre in Enfield, titled 'Escape and Return' and I'll be at the Palmers Green Art Festival in September with Starfish & Coffee (the owner is my next door neighbour).

Art Therapy as a Coping Mechanism

I’m an artist with Asperger’s Syndrome and I’ve lived in Palmers Green since 2004 when I moved here from East London as a student.

As a child I was hyperactive, and I think my mom recognized that early on. It was her who showed me how peaceful and rewarding drawing and painting could be. We did a lot of arts and crafts sessions together. There was a lot of cutting and sticking, making decorations and things to hang around the house...

Patrick Samuel - Things take TimeThings take Time (click on image for information)Unfortunately, between 1996 and 2016, I didn’t draw or paint at all. I forgot how. As hard as I tried to ignore the limitations Asperger’s placed on me, I was simply becoming less and less able to cope with the demands and pressures of adulthood. As a result, 2016 was the worst year of my life. It became much worse in September when I started teacher training. It eventually became clear that I was not getting the right support.

I let matters get worse and by December I was in hospital with an overdose, having attempted suicide for the second time in my life. My diagnosis, care plan, treatment plan, assessments and psychiatric evaluations followed. It’s all been very helpful, but I would not have gotten it if it I wasn’t willing to take responsibility for my actions. I had to face up to my limitations, accept my difference and not blindly ignore it.

The thing that played a big part in this turnaround of my destructive life was the start of my daily art therapy, which began one evening in December 2016.

On that first day, my carer placed an empty A3 drawing pad on my lap, perhaps frustrated at my endless silence. There was the complete inability to put my thoughts into words, or express my emotions and the lack of social imagination to be able to communicate precisely what I was thinking. I just didn’t want to talk anymore.

Patrick Samuel - Obelisk at Trent ParkObelisk at Trent Park (click on image for information)He told me to just draw what I was feeling. I hadn’t drawn in 20 years because I’d forgotten how... 40 minutes later I finished a self-portrait. Half of my face with rotting flesh and bone protruding. It reflected everything I was feeling, or rather not feeling. I was dead from the inside out and fed up of trying to hide it. This is who I was. In that moment, I actually felt something. A little feeling of release. And I was done for the day.

The next day I drew again. And so it went. Day after day. Slowly at first. Each day I’d complete a picture. Eventually they weren’t self-portraits anymore as I started to look beyond myself. I started to draw my dog and other animals. Forests and fields. Then other portraits. Then the moon, the stars, planets, galaxies, other universes, dimensions, portals. I was traveling, exploring...

The point is, Art Therapy is helping me to stop focusing on myself and looking inward. It’s enabling me to look up and beyond. It’s given me the power to dream again, to envision a future me who could use these experiences to build something of a life that could help and inspire others. Art Therapy is a chance to use my Asperger’s for good, rather than the harm I’d been causing to myself and others.

Art Therapy is also helping me build social skills. I don’t just want to create art, I want to share it and I want to keep doing it for as long as I live now. In a short space of time I’ve secured over a dozen sponsors. I’ve also reached out to other artists and they’ve kindly donated many of their materials! And they’re all keen to see how I’m developing as an artist and learning for the first time to manage my Asperger’s. It’s given me a topic to talk about that others can relate to and for the first time as well, I’m conversing with my neighbours.

Patrick Samuel - Corpse FlowerCorpse Flower (click on image for information)My art is now taking me to festivals where I exhibit my work and can put into practice the social skills and coping mechanisms I’d been learning during my counselling with Mind. Maybe you saw me at the East Barnet Festival or the N21 Festival? In September you can see my drawings and paintings at the Palmers Green Art Festival, and then from November I  have my first solo exhibition at the Dugdale Centre, titled ‘Escape and Return’.

What Art Therapy has also done is help me get to the bottom of problems and identify issues that I’ve been unable to access in other ways. There were a lot of questions about myself and my behaviour that I couldn’t understand or answer until I was first able to draw those pictures because that’s how my brain works – in pictures – not words.

Art Therapy might not work for everyone the same way. We’re all unique individuals with wonderfully complex brains that work in so many different ways. What works for me, might work for you, or it might not. You won’t know until you try.

People ask me what they should do and how they can get started because they don’t have the skills and abilities to create anything that can compare to other people’s work. I tell them what my carer said to me, “Draw what you feel”. Abilities, skills, technical know-how, none of this matters in that moment. Draw what you feel and what comes from that is an honest representation of what you’re thinking and feeling. It’s all the things you couldn’t say before. It’s all the thoughts that were rustling through your head that wouldn’t settle before. It’s all the pain and hurt you couldn’t let go of. It’s all the anger you’ve been holding onto. It’s all the joy that comes with that sense of release.

Patrick Samuel - The Little HillThe Little Hill (click on image for information)Lastly, Art Therapy helps me go from strength to strength and blossom with skills I forgot I had, and learn new ones too; social skills, and technical skills. And coping mechanisms. I’m still awkward and nervous in conversations, I still find eye contact painful and fidget while talking, but at least I’m talking again. I never thought I’d be doing festivals or setting up an art stall somewhere or preparing exhibitions at galleries, but they’re social exercises as well and I’m meeting so many wonderful people and am able to put forward something positive and inspiring about autism and Asperger’s with my art and the story of my journey so far.I used to say to an autistic girl I worked with for two years that I was there to help her find her super powers. Along the way I realized she was already amazing as she was, but watching her bloom with the benefits of Art Therapy, acquire so much confidence in herself and master so many social skills...the irony was that it took me so long to discover it in myself; that art and Asperger’s were my super powers all along.


Patrick Samuel with artworks

Text and images © 2017 Patrick Samuel


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myddleton road panorama detailArtist Gabriela Schutz has been working on two detailed panoramas of shopfronts and houses in Myddleton Road, Bowes Park, executed in pencil, and each 7.2 metres long.  They will go on show at Bruce Castle Museum in May.

In the meantime, watch this video in which Gabriela talks about the project and you can see it taking shape.

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gabriela schutz classes

Gabriela Schutz is restarting her art classes for adults in Bounds Green this month, on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings plus Wednesday mornings.

Click here for details.

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fancy fair 2017 smalln21 festival fancy fair 2017

If you're a local artist, sculptor, photographer, crafter or designer, you have an opportunity this summer go exhibit your work at one of the biggest exhibitions in Enfield - part of othe 2017 N21 Fancy Fair.

The Fancy Fair will be held on Winchmore Hill Green on 8th July from 10am to 7pm.  An important part of the Fair will be the Enfield Art Circle Art and Design Exhibition, which will take place both outside on the Green and inside the neighbouring Kings Head pub.images

Images from the 2011 Art and Design exhibition

All artworks on display wlll be for sale.  Works by artists, photographers and graphic designers will be on show in the Green, while crafts will be displayed in the Kings Head's Long Room.

Applications to exhibit work will be processed on a first come-first served basis.  Full details of how to apply can be found on the website.


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enfield art circle image

Enfield Art Circle is a friendly group running an annual programme of art-based talks, demonstrations, practical evenings, art classes, art workshops and outings, and organises exhibitions where members can display and sell their work.

We welcome amateur and professional artists and others interested in our activities.  There is a modest annual subscription.

Further information:  Anne Meakins, Secretary, 07961 861199 or

Enfield Art Circle's 84th Annual Exhibition will be held at Capel Manor between 23 July and 6 August.

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The Spirals of Life final show of ceramic sculptures is now on in Broomfield Park conservatory. Most of the previous sculptures are back, with a few new ones (look out for the Venus baby-trap!).

spirals of life ceramic pitcher plant in broomfield conservatoryA ceramic sculpture of a pitcher plant hanging among real pitcher plants in Broomfield ConservatoryIn addition, the work from the two ceramics workshops are being displayed. (Participants can collect their work next month from 3rd to 24th July, during normal opening hours.) There are also a couple of lovely paintings of bromeliads by young guest artist Sienna Colletta, who called in at the conservatory one day when I was stewarding, to draw and paint.

SPIRALS OF LIFESpirals of Life is finishing - but may reappear in some form, sometime in the future...Thanks to all who have supported it, visited the show or joined in the workshops, with particular thanks to the conservatory volunteers who have created such an inspiring place for us all to enjoy.Some of the sculptures will be sold at the end of the show, and a third of the funds raised will go to the conservatory. If you may be interested in purchasing one of the sculptures, please email Cathy at .

To see the final Spirals of Life show visit Broomfield Conservatory between 2.30 and 4.30 on a Wednesday or Sunday before the end of June.  Some of the exhibits may still be there for a while afterwards, depending on how quickly they are collected by their creators.

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spirals of life poster with fernDuring April the theme for the Spirals of Life exhibition in Broomfield Conservatory is Bamboo and Grass.  "Botanical sculptures" created by Cathy Taylor and June Dawes can be seen nestling among the normal plants in the flower beds.

porcelain grasses and cowparsleyGrasses from Broomfield Park, with Cow Parsley (porcelain paper clay with porcelain slip)Cathy writes:

"Can you imagine how to make a sculpture of grass? It's not easy, is it? Ai Wei Wei did it, but his grass was hard and spiky, and each tuft of grass was separate. I prefer June's wavy version - it looks both pliable and fragile at the same time. It has to be said that it is based on work by Alberto Bustos, though probably made in a different fashion.

"The bamboo sculptures are based on...bamboo. They are quite simple - just three bamboo canes with no leaves. Each cane is made up of a number segments, made separately and then slotted together - so not so simple to make. Surprisingly, they blend in with the other plants, so one visitor was heard to say, 'But that plant is just stalks!'

"Come and see if you can spot the grass and bamboo.

"On 24th April there is the second workshop, open to all adults and children over 6. We will be making pinch pots - little pots that you make in your hand - and we will turn them into pitcher plants, fruits or seed pods. The first workshop was very popular, so come early to be sure of a place.

"Most of the leaves from the first workshop have now been fired and are looking good - I'll post photographs when they are all done."

Spirals of Life continues until the end of June.  You can visit on Wednesdays and Sundays only between 2.30 and 4.30pm.

On Sunday 17th April in addition to the Spirals of Life displays the Friends of Broomfield Park will be selling outdoor plants in the Conservatory to raise money to purchase new plants.

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Easter Sunday is the last Sunday in March and therefore the last chance to see this month's Spirals of Life sculptures in Broomfield Conservatory before they give way to the April exhibits.

ferns1The March exhibits are sculptures of lilies and ferns created by Cathy Taylor and June Dawes.

Cathy writes:

ceramic fern ball"Ferns first caught my eye in the beautiful La Mortella Gardens in Ischia, Italy, where the fronds of giant tree ferns interlaced against the sky. Tree ferns are a very old form of life, familiar from pictures and films of dinosaurs. You can see them today, (though not the dinosaurs!) even in Palmers Green, where there are two standing in front of the Conservatory in the park. These are cultivated ones, of course, and you can see two more inside, in the photographs I took in a park in Vigo, Spain. The large, impressive spirals were about to unfurl into lacy fronds.

ceramic fern spiral"It was not cultivated but wild tree ferns, seen in New Zealand, which inspired June to make her white, ceramic spirals, now set amongst the Conservatory plants.

"With my eye tuned in to the lacy patterns of ferns, I started to notice our native ones, especially in Cornwall where they abound - and where I have a caravan. One of the ceramic 'fern balls' in the conservatory was made by impressing Cornish ferns into the damp clay (by rubbing over them with a spoon, once the spheres were made). Funnily enough, my favourite fern is not large or lacy - it is the small, robust, and somehow jaunty Polypody, which grows out of cracks in old garden walls. You can see several of its fronds on the ball, with their double row of round spores.

"The second fern ball is a kind of fantasy fern, but something like one of the plants in the conservatory. The fronds are not impressed, but modelled and then attached to the ball. The technique used, of spreading the wet clay with a wooden tool, was inspired by the delicate plaster-work in Greenwich Royal Naval College (though I've since read that that was actually carved!).

"If you miss the ferns this week, come back for the final show in June, when you will also see the bracken piece. This simple sculpture, with an impressed bracken frond on each side, shows that our familiar bracken, which we look down on, is as lacy and intricate as the most lofty tree fern fronds etched against the sky."

Broomfield Conservatory is open from 2.30pm to 4.30pm on Sundays and Wednesdays.  Admission is free.  Spirals of Life continues until June.  Next month's sculptures in the Conservatory: Bamboo and Grass.

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spirals of life smallspirals of life posterThe first month of this year's Artist-in-Residence scheme in Broomfield Conservatory was brought to a close with a very popular drop-in workshop, giving visitors an opportunity to learn how to create ceramic leaves.

Cathy Taylor's five-month residency goes by the overall title "Spirals of Life", each month having a different theme, but all within the overall concept of "biological sculptures".

Cathy's report on last Sunday's workshop:

"The ceramics leaf-making workshop in the Conservatory in Broomfield Park on Sunday was very successful, with both children and adults taking part side by side. There were around 20 participants, with people dropping in all afternoon, and no seat empty.  In fact, the conservatory was full of people either happily making or enjoying the atmosphere and the new sculptures in the central flower bed.

"Many beautiful leaves were made and coloured, and these will now be fired to go into the final exhibition. People were encouraged to add their initials to help them claim their work in June, but most of the leaves are unique as people developed their own individual style.

ceramics workshop leaves

"The photograph shows some newly-made leaves from the workshop. The leaves will now be fired, covered in clear glaze, and fired again to 1280 degrees. The colours will come much brighter."

Spirals of Life continues during March, when the theme will be "Fern, Frond, Spathe and Spadix".  Alongside Cathy's sculptures there will be many created by June Dawes.  As visitors enter the Conservatory, they will see June's arum lilies - made in two parts and assembled after firing - and behind them some tree fern spirals. And if you missed the large cheeseplant flower in the conservatory last year, you can see June 's replica near the lilies.

By the ferns there is a "fern ball", which Cathy made around a football - it had to be cut open, the football removed, then joined up again.  The clay ball was  impressed with real wild ferns from Cornwall.

The next workshop will take place on 24th April (2.30-4.30pm) and will teach people how to make fruits or seedpods from small, hand-made pots. There is no booking for this - just put the date in your diary and turn up!

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