Meet Elena, an adult carer from Lambeth
creative:voices is Create’s multi-artform programme that enables adult carers to take a creative break from their caring responsibilities, build trusting relationships with their peers and develop communication skills, new interests and confidence.
During February to March 2022, carers from Lambeth took part in six weeks of ceramics workshops with our professional artist Sam Haynes.
Adult carer Elena told us about her experiences.
“Being with other carers gives you more energy.”Elena, an adult carer
“I care for my son, who has some learning difficulties. His condition was very manageable at the beginning, but over the last three years he has gotten worse and as a result, there have been a lot of changes in my life. I’ve learned a lot and I feel like I can help others learn more about my son’s condition.
“During this project I got to play and make things with clay alongside other carers who were like me. I like working with clay because the texture makes it flexible, you can handmake whatever shape you like, dry it and keep it forever. It was great working with Sam too. She explained everything very well and in a simple way. Over the course of the project, I made a tile and three pots! I really enjoyed it.
Finding a safe space
“everyone is dealing with something at home. When you hear a shared experience, it helps.”Elena, an adult carer
“It was great working with other people on the project. They were really friendly and I made friends. One of the ladies is caring for three people. I’m only caring for one. Hearing her story made me realise that there are people in more difficult situations than me. While it’s not nice, it reassures you that it’s okay because if they’re coping well, I can have some more confidence in my caring role.
“It’s nice having people who understand. You feel more open to speak about a loved one’s condition with them. You can tell them the things that you can’t tell anyone because they understand. We share our experiences and sometimes little things help. You learn a lot from other carers and they give you more energy. It sounds simple, but everyone is dealing with something at home. When you hear a shared experience, it helps. Just to share what you are dealing with helps.
Sharing your creativity
“I don’t often have the chance to do creative things. At home I struggle to keep up with chores, the children and taking them to all their activities, so there’s no time for creativity. When I have the chance, I try. This project has taught me that I can do better than expected and create some beautiful things. It’s all about trying something different, and it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. Art is just about doing something.
“When I look at all the pieces I made on this project, they look beautiful. I feel relaxed, it was a good experience. I’m excited to take them home, and to take some clay home to use with my children. We can try different things, it’s relaxing and good for your mind. We don’t always need to be rushing around and doing things. I think they will love it. I used to do art with them when they were very little, but not anymore. Now they’re grown up they are into football, but I want them to try something creative, even if it’s just a couple of hours once a week.”
creative:voices Lambeth was funded by Arts Council England