‘It’s tiring to just walk up a hill, I need to take a crayon with me, and just draw myself up the hill’
During the pandemic, Tea, Cake & Art has continued to maintain free-to-access weekly creative connections with isolated, older or anxious people by zoom, and by post for those without digital access. It has brought together people who are uncertain about venturing out and those who are physically unable to.
'I really think Tea, Cake & Art IS like an anchor. Getting things out, it’s crazy, but just getting textiles out, feels like there is a focus, because at the moment there isn’t much focus’
Each week the group, with a supportive artist, talks and makes art from their own homes, either from a friendly letter and worksheet or via zoom, with all the essential human social and wellbeing benefits that that brings. We have managed to stay connected and share jokes, insight, tea and even a few tears.
We recognised, as the world opened up again, that some people were desperate to make contact in person whilst for others, getting out of the house was a longer term goal.... but we knew a way to accommodate all those needs. As soon as we could, we set up a blended group: both in the gallery, in person, and online at the same time.
‘It was so nice to be back, physically and in person, and with people and have the chance to LITERALLY talk to another HUMAN BEING, which I was beginning to think didn’t exist any more!’
We are still in the early days of experimenting to get the technology right, but we are now able to offer ways for people to take part however they feel comfortable, switching between as suits their confidence, physical ability or even the weather! For some, it's too soon to take part in person in the gallery, but we have created the route for them in the future when they are ready.
I like the name Tea, Cake & Art, I actually like the name ‘cos I like tea and cake! I find it quite comforting, and I’d like to come and have tea and cake (and a cry if that was permitted!)
We can also reach so many more people who are not able to come into the gallery, like a group member who is in her 90s and lives with dementia, but has always had art in her life and still finds new ideas at Tea, Cake & Art with the support of her carer and via Zoom.
‘I think it’s really important we have it in the gallery, even though I have my extra challenges with it, because it’s real life.’
This winter, we need your help to support isolated people further marginalised by the pandemic. Your donation will allow us to expand our offer of blended in-gallery, online and postal access for 40 people up to 60+ Tea, Cake & Art-ers, helping participants back into a more sociable and creative way of living in whatever way suits them best.
‘Oh, I just wanted to say, I’ve been in the gallery! I’ve not been in the gallery in like two years, I haven’t been out. So I actually went to the gallery and saw the show, I didn’t know I would be able to do that but I did that. I actually did.’