Creen Craft - Exploring Nature, Landscape, Ecology, and Soul through art.
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Creen Craft - Exploring Nature, Landscape, Ecology, and Soul through art.

Creen Craft - Exploring Nature, Landscape, Ecology, and Soul through art.

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Water of Leith Conservation Trust

24 Lanark Road

Edinburgh

EH14 1TQ

United Kingdom

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Creen Craft begins with the view that we are not separate from Nature. This is an invitation to creatively consider, deepen, and repair your sense of connection to Earth, by engaging with the powerful process of making art. You will have the freedom to do so in your own way individually, and to participate in group discussion. We will use the group environment to re-invigorate our senses of beauty and wonder at the world, and to seek out the courage required by the times in which we are living.

'Creen' is a Scots word meaning to cultivate a lament. So in this context we are talking about acting with the intention of creating something with meaning and beauty, to honor not only the life that presently surrounds us, but also that which has departed.

WHO CREEN CRAFT IS FOR

The Creen Craft sessions are open to all who wish to deepen their inner relationship to landscape and the living Earth - to feel a greater sense of being a part of the web of life that we know as 'Nature'. At the present time in our culture it is not uncommon to experience a sense of disconnection in the way we relate to the environment, other people, and even to ourselves. Creen Craft has been developed in response to this 'crisis of our times', to provide for people a creative, therapeutic, and empowering way of attending to experiences of separation and grief for Nature, as well as rekindling a sense of deeper inspiration which strengthens our resolve to care for life.

Making art is partly an internal process by which we can focus our awareness within to see what may be asking for attention, whilst also considering how what we find within us is reflected in the world at large, and vice versa. It also has the benefit of being a physical act, which can help to reconnect our inner lives to the body, and then in turn to the wider social milieu where we interact with the world.

So Creen Craft is about engaging with your imagination (dusting off cobwebs if required), and regenerating a sense of being from the Earth. We will be moving beyond the idea of the natural world being something separate, and so it follows that the work is suitable for people who are sensitive to the way in which the Earth has been neglected, as well as how beautiful it still is. To consciously devote ourselves to this task of reinvigorating our deeper inspiration, and expressing it in visual form, is a potent act of courage, and vital rebellion against all that would seek to suppress it.

This type of work will be new for many, but rest-assured, you will not require degrees in art and philosophy. Whilst at times our subject matter may be serious or poignant, the group is conducted in the ‘spirit of enquiry’, meaning that joy, humor, and playfulness are equally important parts of the mix. In essence, the sessions are quite literally ‘down to Earth’. What is required of participants is a willingness to give consideration to the content and possible meaning of the creative work made in the session, and not to concern ourselves with judging what is made in terms of ‘good’ and ‘bad’.


BOOKING FOR MORE THAN ONE SESSION

At present these groups can be booked individually, or all together. Booking for more than one session will allow you to approach the group with a greater sense of depth, by giving yourself the opportunity to develop your art making over time, in relation to your thoughts and feelings about the subject matter.

Because Creen Craft has a broad overarching theme and format, with an emphasis on self-directed working, this makes it possible to attend intermittently without having ‘missed’ something specific.


THE CENTRAL THEMES

Creen Craft exists within the overlap of the respective fields known as Deep Ecology, Ecopsychology, and Art. Deep Ecology holds as its key tenet that human life exists in an interdependent relationship with all other life. As such, all lifeforms have intrinsic value in and of themselves, irrespective of whether they are of ‘use’ to mankind, and are all connected to the same web of life. So to damage or exert influence on one part of the system, can cause harm to other parts, including humanity.


Ecospychology, as the name suggests, places emphasis upon the psychological aspects of this interconnectedness with other life. However, it is not so much one easy to define discipline in itself, as a way of approaching a variety of other closely connected areas from the perspective of Psyche, such as - Human Ecology, Nature Spirituality, Transpersonal Psychology, Environmental Activism, Ecotherapy, Philosophy. So this would include emotional responses, the body-mind connection, and ways of considering images.


Throughout the ages Art and the natural world have been intertwined. From the first known 'art' daubed directly onto the body of Earth in caves, to depictions of the land through other mediums, more recently artist interventions in the natural environment and the re-contextualising of materials such as rock and mud into gallery settings in the form of sculpture and installation.


THE THERAPEUTIC POTENTIAL OF CREEN CRAFT

The making of imagery can be a rich and rewarding experience. Specifically in relation to considerations of ‘nature’, which tends to be thought of as ‘out there somewhere’ or separate. Creating art provides a means of connecting your own inner images to a wider context by ‘making visible’. Although it can at times feel exposing to express oneself in the presence of others (especially if you are not used to working visually), we consider what is made by each person to be a part of the work of the group as a whole, and in this way all of what is made is interrelated to all the other work. This sense of being a part of a greater whole, your work reacting with that of others, reflects the values of Deep Ecology. The physical process of ‘making’, and the act of regarding it, can be very powerful, and often reveal deeper layers of meaning in your work. It could also be considered a ‘therapy of ideas’, as the sessions provide the time and space to think and do in a manner that may not be commonplace in our day to day lives. This is a great assistance in helping us reconnect with our capacity to feel wonder, and to be inspired.


HOW THE GROUP WORKS

Each session is divided into several periods, with a distinct flow of activity. To begin I will read from relevant texts by way of setting the scene and introducing topics for discussion and consideration. From this there may arise a theme, or question, but essentially the time for independent art making is just that - your time to engage in image making in your own way. Then we gather to view and discuss what has been created. This pattern may then be repeated, perhaps with variations in theme, or intention. There may be a question to consider, or a prominent topic which emerges from our group discussion, and inspires or guides your work in some way. You have the freedom to decide how to proceed, and to use the materials provided in your own manner.


MY ROLE IN THE WORK

My role in the group is to facilitate an environment which allows participants to confidently express themselves through art making, ensuring that the thoughts and feelings voiced by participants are heard, and responded to. I will be engaged in ‘the work of the group’ myself, by making art, and participating in discussion. My presence in the group is informed by my research and practice as an artist, and my knowledge and experience of working with people in a therapeutic context as a qualified Art Therapist.

FAQs

Please have a look through the following (fairly extensive) FAQs section prior to booking. I hope any general questions you may have about Creen Craft will be answered here. If you have a question which is not covered then please email me at aphillips.arts@gmail.com. Further information can also be found on my website www.AndrewVPhillips.co.uk

Do I need to book in advance?

It is important that you book prior to attending the session. Places are limited to keep the group size small. You are advised to book in advance, via Eventbrite, to ensure your place. I will not be offering a 'pay on the door' option for these groups.

Is Creen Craft therapy?

These sessions are not intended to replicate art therapy, or group therapy in the traditional sense. However, it is likely that in the process of devoting ourselves to the wonder and beauty of life, that we also encounter the difficult, painful, and problematic - all of which have their place and part to play. The therapeutic, transformative, or healing aspect of this work, will be found through bearing witness to life as we know it to be, in all its various aspects, attesting to what inspires our being in the world through creative acts.

Is Creen Craft an art lesson?

In this work I will not be teaching any art techniques, or skills, or even suggesting how you are to go about using the materials. However, that is not to say that learning will not occur. You may encounter ideas in work made by others, and you might also discover simply by experimenting, or by 'not knowing' what to do, that in fact you have your own way of going about making imagery. An extremely valuable insight!

Are there rules?

There will be some basic, yet essential boundaries that all participants (including myself) will be expected to adhere to. This is in order to establish an atmosphere of trust in which you feel able to express yourself in the company of others. The boundaries particularly relate to confidentiality, use of mobile phones/camera's, inappropriate behaviour. This will be elaborated upon at the beginning of the session.

Do I need to be good at making art?

A purpose of this group is to nurture the spontaneous use of art materials to express yourself, in a particular time and place, and as such you cannot do this wrong. Each work is also viewed in the context of being a single part of a group of works, made by everyone present. So, for example, if you feel it has been very difficult to express yourself as you wished, we would consider this as not just a personal struggle or difficulty, but as a valid part of the experience of the whole group. We would then consider what this may communicate regarding struggle, lack of agency, and frustrations at the difficulty of free expression in the world at large. Sometimes the greatest breakthroughs for a group emerge from difficulties. Likewise, it is also quite possible that one who enters the group not feeling confident in their abilities, may experience surprise and delight at what does manifest.

This area of research has been my lifework/I am an established artist, am I welcome?

Yes, you certainly are.

What if I feel nervous / don't have anything to say in the group / or don't know what to do?

Whilst all participants are encouraged to contribute to discussion and art making, it is sometimes the case that one cannot find the words, especially in a group setting. Or that what is felt does not have words - hence the power of image making to reveal and make visible. It is also acknowledged that often when faced with art materials even a prolific artist can find themselves stuck. If this happens it is considered part of the creative process, and the work of the group as a whole. You cannot do it wrong!

I like the sound of this work, but do not wish to take part in a group session. Do you offer individual work?

Yes, I can also work with you on an individual basis, for short-term or ongoing therapeutic work. Please get in touch via my website or email.

I cannot attend on this date. Will you be offering more sessions like this?

Creen Craft sessions will be generally be arranged seasonally. To be informed first when new sessions are available, please visit my website and sign up to the mailing list.

Is there an age limit/minimum age?

This event is open to those aged 18 or over. Whilst I have worked with children and young people, and appreciate the importance and value of doing so, this group is for adults, and the space cannot accommodate children during the session.

What can/can't I bring to the event?

A range of art materials will be provided. Please do not bring your own, as it is important that all participants have access to the same materials.

Tea and Coffee will also be available.

​Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

Upon arrival I will greet you, and check your name against my list of attendee's, and the ticket would be useful confirmation in the event of any discrepancies.

What is the refund policy?

Please be advised that the ticket price will not be refunded if you are unable to, or decide not to attend.

In the event that I have to cancel the session a refund will be provided.

Is my registration/ticket transferrable?

It is valid only for the session for which it has been booked, and can not be transferred to another session.

In the event that I have to cancel the session a refund will be provided.

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

Parking at the venue is limited. Alternative parking may be found nearby. Please call the venue with any queries regarding this.

The Water of Leith Visitor Centre is situated in a renovated schoolhouse by the Water of Leith at Lanark Road, Slateford easily accessible 4 miles west of Edinburgh City Centre on the A70. Located opposite The Blue Goose Public House (formerly The Dell Inn). Bus numbers 34,and 44 stop outside the Centre.

Slateford train station is 0.3 miles away, ten minutes on foot. Slateford is on the Edinburgh Waverley - Glasgow Central via Shotts line.

Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?

Please contact me via email - aphillips.arts@gmail.com - with any questions you may have.


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Water of Leith Conservation Trust

24 Lanark Road

Edinburgh

EH14 1TQ

United Kingdom

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