Old and worn out books form the basis of The Hospice of St Francis’ new Art Bag project which aims to raise awareness of hospice care and boost the wellbeing of people living with a life-limiting illness.
Available for free, the bags contain an art activity and all the materials needed to complete the project.
The latest art bags contain the pages of old books along with a black pen. All the books are so old they were unsuitable for resale and have therefore been diverted from landfill or were donated specifically for use in the art bags project.
Anyone can take part in the project and participants are being encouraged to ‘draw out a new narrative’ by transforming the pages either by drawing over the existing text or reshaping them into something new.
The project, now in its third year, is funded by Macmillan and is a joint initiative with Peace Hospice Care in Watford. Art bags can be collected from both hospices where installations have been set up in the reception areas to allow people to sit in an armchair, read a book or complete an art bag. Book readings are also planned in the installation areas, incorporating performance into this year’s project for the first time.
Once completed, participants are asked to return their creations to either hospice . They will then be displayed at the end of the project in March next year.
Annalie Ashwell, Macmillan Creative Therapist, said: “Art has proven therapeutic benefits for people facing serious illness, promoting wellbeing and relaxation as well as building resilience.
“This year we wanted to highlight the nostalgia and beauty of paper books, reviving the old and traditional and moving away from technological advancements in ways of reading. We hope that participants will embrace this opportunity to reshape the existing paper and text enabling a new narrative to emerge that perhaps reflects their own journey.”
Samantha Owen, who became involved in the last Art Bag project following treatment for breast cancer, said: “For me, the art bag project was an opportunity to get out there and try life again.
“Being involved in a project with people who were going through a similar situation was really reassuring and hopefully it will help other people at the beginning of their diagnosis realise that there is help out there and that it comes in many different forms.”
If you would like to take part in the art bag project, please pick up a bag from The Hospice of St Francis or Peace Hospice receptions or call 01442 869550.
For more information about The Hospice of St Francis’ creative therapies visit www.stfrancis.org.uk