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Art Bag Project

 Create. Contemplate. Connect

Our Art Bags

The Art Bag Project, now in its fifth year, is a collaborative initiative from Macmillan Cancer Support, Peace Hospice Care and The Hospice of St Francis designed to promote the sense of wellbeing that is generated through taking part in a creative activity.

Each Art Bag is filled with a simple creative activity providing participants with the tools needed to create, contemplate and connect.

The 2019/20 Art Bags...


Out of the box

This year’s Art Bag project was launched at the start of October to coincide with the start of national Hospice Care Week. 

The greatest creations start from small beginnings so we encourage you to think ‘out of the box’, and we look forward to seeing what emerges from yours. Write down what the objects mean to you on the paper included...

The free bags contain all the materials needed including the all-important matchbox. Anyone can take part and no experience is necessary. You can pick up your art bag from the Hospice reception.

Remember, once submitted your box cannot be returned! Please don’t include any valuable or sentimental items in your box.

Once completed, participants are asked to return their creations to either hospice. They will then be displayed at the end of the project in summer 2020.

Art bag house

Art Bag example


Previous Art Bags...


It was inspired by The Solace Project, an initiative run by London-based artist Sophie Alston.

The bags contained everything needed to complete a contemporary cross-stitch using easy-to-use large-hole canvas.

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’s art bags connect with and support The Solace Project, which is being run at the Hospice from 26th October to 16th November. We hope that participants will take this opportunity to explore the possibilities of using craft to improve their general wellbeing.”


Art Bag launch event

Art Bag Exhibition Framed Cross stitch 2 res


The 2017 Art Bag contained a bar of soap and all the materials needed for carving so participants could create anything that represented how they were feeling. The results included flowers, faces, animals, buildings and many different shapes.


Art Bag Film Strip

A special animation film was created with the help of animator Kim Noce featuring more than 100 soap carvings created by people affected by life-limiting illness.

The latest art bags contain the pages of old books along with a black pen. 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.  

Annalie Ashwell, Macmillan Wellbeing and Therapeutic Coordinator, said: “The simple act of taking some time to focus on a creative activity can help to promote wellbeing and relaxation and build resilience when coping with a serious illness. It provides a way for people to express themselves, as well as giving carvers and carers, personal artwork to cherish."

Samantha Owen, who became involved in the Art Bag project following treatment for breast cancer, said: “For me, this project has been an opportunity to get out there any 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.”

Anyone can take part in the project. Just pick up an Art Bag from the Hospice reception.

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