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Meet the Artist...

Continuing our series of posts where we'll get to know more about the fantastic artists that have worked to help deliver all of the creative activity during the Greater Creative project. Up next is Hayley Pell.

What artistic medium(s) do you work in?

I love to sew with brightly coloured materials and add ribbons and buttons whenever possible. I like to take into account the colour wheel for dramatic effects. I also enjoy recycling and upcycling items. As well as my sewing machine my other favourite machine is my Cricut Explore. I find inspiration sometimes in the strangest places from Charity shops to Nature.

Tell us a bit about yourself…How long have you been working as an artist? What was your journey to get to this point?

I have always enjoyed creating things and inspiring others. For many years I worked with individuals with Brain Injuries and diagnosis under the Autism umbrella, creating activities and supporting them to achieve goals they never imagined they could. I think one of my favourite memories from that time was painting with a partially sighted lady, who had never tried to do that before. Latterly I have worked with individuals with Dementia supporting them with many crafts and activities and awakening in them skills they had lost their confidence with. Due to lockdown this work came to an end. During that time my own Dad had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s this has been and still is heart breaking to deal with and as the closest person to him I took on more and more tasks as he stopped doing them. But the worst part, as anyone in the same situation will tell you, is that you are the person their anger and frustrations are aimed at. I realised that to help cope with this I needed an outlet and happy place. One day I got out my very old sewing machine dusted it off and just started making things. I made my own simple patterns. Soon family and friends were asking me to make them bunting for Christmas and all the dogs in the family were soon wearing christmas bandanas! Sewing has totally absorbed my brain and got me feeling creative again.

What was your motivation to work in the arts and what do you get out of the process of making art?

I suppose my initial motivation was needing something to help me cope with my Dads decline and I needed a creative buzz again. My work is a pleasure and I feel inspired and excited when surrounded by materials and my brain is normally popping with ideas. My daughter is getting married this year and I have taken great pleasure in coming up with ideas for decorations and accessories and I can’t wait to see it all come together on the day, knowing it will also be very unique. I now enjoying selling some of my items at local craft fayres and when people admire your work and love of colour, the feeling of satisfaction is enormous. I often get people talking to me who also enjoy craft sewing but lack a bit of confidence in their work and I love answering their questions and helping them in any way that I can.

What are your thoughts about the Greater Creative project now that you’ve been involved with some of the project work?

I have been a big fan of the Greater Creative Group for a long time and love the colour and positive inspiration they have brought to Blackwell Parish with their many installations.

As a Parish Councillor I know the difficulties of trying to do as much for the community as possible within a budget and I feel the work of Greater Creative has brought things to the parish that would have never happened otherwise and I feel incredibly grateful for all their work and enrichment to the area and to individuals who join in with their many activities. I also feel these projects improve community spirit and often help to bring generations together.

This has been an exciting journey and wonderful experience, working with Greater Creative was my first ever commission of this type. I feel I have learnt from it and I was also able to draw on previous experience of tailoring projects to ensure they are accessible to all.

From receiving the first email from Jodie [at Greater Creative] this has been exciting, rewarding and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I also feel the workshop I was involved in to make community Bunting fulfilled its brief and was a great success.

Where can people go to find out more about you and view your work?

I have a Facebook group called Feeling Crafty where I display my work and details of events where you can find me and my stall.

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