Featured in “Thumb Print” Autumn 2021

Peisley’s workshops were featured in the Autumn 2021 edition of “Thumb Print” – the magazine of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Carers learn a new skill during online event

Encouraging carers and former carers to take time out for themselves, meet others and learn a new skill was the aim of an online art group held over the summer.

The six-week course, funded by a grant from the Kent Community Foundation and hosted by award-winning artist Tracie Peisley, saw seven people, who care for loved ones with MND and Kennedy’s disease, take part in sessions online.

Each carer was sent a box of art materials, including paint and clay, which Tracie then used to guide them through various activities.

Tracie explained: “It was important for them to take time for themselves and I helped to create a safe space for that. The work they did reflected the love they shared for their partners and loved ones and often happy shared experiences such as holidays. I think the sessions have also created a positive ripple-effect. I know some of those who attended will want to share their skills and experiences with loved ones.”

Among those who took part in the sessions was Carol Swain, whose husband Pete is living with MND. She said: “I really ummed and ahhed about taking part because I am no artist, but I decided to give it a go. The group was very encouraging, and Tracie really held us together, guiding us and talking to us.

“When the box arrived, it was just like Christmas! It was full of paper, pencils, clay and glue, everything we needed to get started. I’m not very good at art, but I can cook, so when it came to using the clay, I took inspiration from pastry. Inspired by holidays to the Mediterranean, I created plates with lemons and oranges on them and I was really pleased with the results.”

Association visitor Judy Keay, whose husband died from MND, said the sessions gave carers the chance to take their focus away from their responsibilities for a short time, something which is vital for mental health and wellbeing.

She said: “It gave us all inspiration to try something new and creative. I’ve decided to carry on painting, and I’ve even enrolled in an adult education course nearby.

“Activities such as art and sport are so important for the wellbeing of carers and these online sessions were very well-received.”

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