Artist(s):

Naomi O’Kelly

Naomi is one of the artists facilitating the Creative Kin sessions in North Ayrshire and Moray. In this blog, she reflects on the first steps the project has taken as it finds its feet. 


Hello and welcome to the first project blog for Creative Kin! We’ve just done our 3rd session, but it still feels like the beginning. That’s because it’s a unique project, and there’s no existing blueprint for how it should be done – the Creative Kin team are working hard on logistical questions like “Who is coming along this Saturday? How will they get to the venue? What are their practical needs and what can we do to help?”

 

We’re very much at the stage of forming the group (ie, fnding out who will be attending regularly, and seeking to create a consistent community feel). This is partly because Creative Kin caters for a pool of potential participants across Ayrshire, and many people have a long distance to travel to the venue. With such a long journey to make in the morning (with children in tow), I’m really impressed by the families who put in all the effort to get there, and by the dedication of Children 1st, whose staff team drive out to collect some families.

When folk arrive, the room has tea and snacks, music playing (a Creative Kin playlist on Spotify, with suggestions from the group), and there’s a bunch of fresh fowers. I’m thinking a lot these days about what makes a welcoming atmosphere, and how we can achieve that.

Some favourite moments so far:

  • Playing keepy-uppy with large balloons – adults and older children joining in enthusiastically, and the little children just looking, thunder-struck and delighted by the sight of the blue, red and green orbs bouncing and foating around the room…
  • Visual art/craft work with our guest artist Brian Hartley, where participants made fantasy houses decorated with gorgeous, high-quality decorations (oh, the simple pleasure of colour, texture and sparkles…)
  • Small, precious moments of conversation, where I get to know participants individually.

 

Since attendance so far has been irregular, every session so far has been like a ‘taster’. I feel like a witch (a good witch) in the middle of making a spell to achieve a feeling of consistency and familiarity, which is a bit of a challenge when things are so different from week to week. So, I’m off to look at art materials and budgets and plans and games, and sling things into the bubbling cauldron and see what happens…. I feel I should end this on a witchy cackle: Mwah ha ha haaaaa!!