Dave's story

At times, people tell me they’re not creative, but I like to think we all are.

I have never seen myself as someone who can paint or draw. But part of the ongoing See Me box-making project, I have tried both of these. 15 years ago, I would probably have politely declined the opportunity to be part of this fascinating endeavour, a decision that would no doubt have been based on limited chances to develop these skills in my youth. I’m not alone in this; many of us failed to show a natural flair for something in childhood, so weren’t encouraged to take it further.

Now that I’m older and slightly wiser, though still with much to learn, I realise the value in trying new things, whether I’m good at them or not.

My attitude towards the box-making was this: ‘I am going to learn something.’ And do you know what? I did. I felt the joy of painting with lovely, talented people, sitting on a mini tarpaulin, dodging showers, having a proper giggle. I experienced the soothing pleasure of meticulously trying to recreate a photo of beloved South Harris in watercolour form. I delighted in the whimsy of portraying precious times with a loved one in pencil.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed, the impeded stream is the one that sings.

I was moved and inspired by seeing the calming effect of creativity on people I have supported. My colleague, Mark, shared a poem with me recently, featuring this quote from The Real Work by Wendell Berry: the mind that is not baffled is not employed, the impeded stream is the one that sings.

I think that is beautiful and true. It might be that you haven’t yet discovered your creative gift, but maybe now is the time to search for it. This is a challenging time, but I hope it leads to us all saying with pride: ‘I Am an Artist!’

Dave Alldred is a Recovery Practitioner Peer in our Western Isles NOVA team. Thanks, Dave, keep your inspiring blogs coming.

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