Meet Yvette, from our project supported by anthropologie

Photo by Alex Mooney

creative:me is Create’s programme in partnership with Anthropologie. In November and December 2022, we ran projects inspired by Anthropologie’s Christmas theme of “sparkling joy”.

As part of creative:me, adult carers from Islington took part in six, weekly visual art workshops with our professional artist Rachel McGivern. The project aimed to ignite adult carers’ imaginations, offer them an escape from everyday life and a break from their responsibilities, and help them connect with others.

Adult carer Yvette told us about her experiences.

“I moved back to London for my elderly mum about eight years ago. She is 82 and although she hasn’t been diagnosed with dementia, she’s very forgetful and she just couldn’t look after herself. Particularly since the pandemic she’s taken quite a downturn in her capabilities and her confidence levels.

“She relies on me for quite a lot. She’s stopped driving, so I do all the driving. I do the cooking and the cleaning and I look after her. Before, I used to be able to go away for a night and she’d be able to heat herself up some soup, but I think that’s beyond her now. She becomes more dependent on me as we go along.

“My mum’s quite needy and if I wasn’t strict with my boundaries, she would take all of my time and energy. Making time for myself has been the biggest challenge: setting my boundaries and maintaining them. It’s one thing to set them, but to maintain them constantly is the daily challenge.

“It’s nice to have time that’s just mine”

Photo by Alex Mooney

“Taking on caring responsibilities has changed my lifestyle. I work from home, which I actually really enjoy. However, I’m an introvert. I like one-on-one [interaction] with my friends and I used to go out a lot more to meet with friends and do more social things. I only do that once every couple of weeks at the most for an afternoon or an evening now. I’m much more housebound. It’s changed my life massively.

“It’s really nice to have a bit of the week that’s just mine. [The project] is a really nice environment, it’s a little outing every week I look forward to. “We’ve been doing lino printing, which has been brilliant. I’ve really enjoyed it. We’ve been printing onto fabric and painting and making lavender eye bags out of some of that fabric. I’ve learnt that it’s a step by step thing and it’s really effective. I’ve done it before but it was so many moons ago.

“When you’re at school, you’re in the habit of doing weird and interesting things in your art class but when you’re older you forget to do new things. It’s good for the brain health. I like meeting people. I really like the facilitators, I think they’re all really lovely. They’re gentle and focused, and they’re really good at confidence building. I think the group format works really well too.

I’ve worked with Create before and I’ve got a little portfolio of stuff I’ve done. It gives me a sense of wellbeing and inspires me.”

Yvette, adult carer

“I get creatively stimulated”

“I am really pleased with the work I did on lino, I get a really strong sense of satisfaction. I’ve worked with Create before and I’ve got a little portfolio of stuff I’ve done and it’s really nice to look back over it. It gives me a sense of wellbeing and it inspires me. I get creatively stimulated, I find that I go home and I’m ticking over in a way that I wasn’t ticking over before, so it will just fire up ideas. I’ll go home with my weird print and then I’ll want to make it into Christmas cards or I’ll want to make gift tags out of it or something. This year was the first year I’ve made Christmas cards in about six years and I know that it’s partly to do with feeling inspired by Create.

“Projects like this help because they allow me to have that time that’s just about me. I come back refreshed and ready to go again. It’s a bit of a recharge, a reset. Just that little moment out of each week gives me time where I’m not thinking about mum’s food or the next meal or whether she’s got clean pyjamas. I’m not thinking about any of her needs. I’m just thinking about running stitch.”

creative:me Islington was supported by Anthropologie. You can learn more about our partnership here.