Rediscovering Art at Hempstalls Hall
On 23rd March, residents at Hempstalls Hall Care Home in Newcastle-under-Lyme took part in a creative art session with Craig Gilma, who runs a pop-up art studio, ‘Painty’.
With Hempstalls Hall located close to Stoke-on-Trent, also known as ‘the potteries’ due to playing an important role in the manufacturing of potteries and ceramics during the Industrial Revolution, it stands to reason that many residents at the home worked in these industries during their careers, with some decorating the pottery figures, plates and cups with great skill and accuracy.
Many residents also enjoyed painting as a hobby when they retired, but moving into a care home doesn’t mean leaving your old life and hobbies behind, and Berni Williams, Well-being and Activities Co-ordinator at Hempstalls Hall, strives to ensure activities are person-centred, providing residents with the opportunity for meaningful engagement. The pop-up paint studio proved the perfect opportunity for residents who wanted to try painting for the very first time.
To begin the session, Craig demonstrated how he had created his painting step-by-step. He was engaging, building a great rapport with residents, and encouraging them to make the ‘painty promise’ – to have a go and to enjoy themselves. The residents did just that! Have a read of their experiences below:
Speaking of the session, Betty explained, “I used to paint a lot, but I didn’t think I could do it anymore because my eyesight is bad. It just shows you should always try!” She found Craig after the session to thank him, delighted that she was able to paint again. Betty filled her canvas with delicate snowdrops and poppies and couldn’t wait to show it to her family and friends.
Before the art session began, Ivy said, “I’m not very good at painting!” Craig explained how anyone could paint, spending time with Ivy to discuss the steps he had followed to complete his painting. Ivy really enjoyed the session and was proud of her work.
With a bit of help from Carer Kacey, Sheila enjoyed the session, smiling broadly the whole way through. She was very proud of her work, saying it was “beautiful.”
Ann took up painting and acrylics when she retired, particularly enjoying capturing landscapes in her work. When she was initially asked if she would like to join in with the session, Ann was unsure if she would still be able to do it. On the day, she happened to be sitting in the room and watched Craig set up the easels and canvases. He placed one in front of Ann with some paintbrushes, and she picked one up immediately.
Following Craig’s guidance, Ann created a field of flowers with an amazing deep blue sky. Later that week, Ann’s family members came to visit. Upon seeing the painting, they thanked Berni for encouraging Ann to paint again. “We have taken the measurements of the painting, and we are going to get a frame for it.”
Beryl and Brenda
Both Beryl and Brenda inspired the team at Hempstalls Hall to arrange the visit from Craig and his pop-up art studio. Beryl often speaks about her time working as a paintress in a pottery during the 1940s and 50s and was looking forward to using her skills again during the session. Beryl was in her element and had a few conversations with Craig about the techniques used in ceramic painting, as she had done this previously too. She also enjoyed rediscovering her artistic talents.
After the session, fellow residents expressed an interest in participating, including 100-year-old Mavis, who stated, “Next time, I would like to have a go myself.” Deputy Manager Lisa was equally impressed, “This is one of the best activities I’ve seen in a care home.”
The team at Hempstalls Hall are looking forward to inviting Craig back soon, to discover more budding artists within the home.