HOB Primary 5/6 & 6, Throughout May
The first term of Flourish began when two classes from Hill Of Banchory primary school visited me in May. I worked with them once a week for four weeks using the garden as inspiration. They had time to explore (charging around a wild garden does wonders for the imagination!) and wrote about what they found, paying particular attention to what they could see, hear, smell and touch. They also used the words I have hung around the garden to create found poems and completed seed sentences about the elements, and the plants growing in the garden. This writing culminated in the creation of two group poems – one from each class which they read out in the garden and I recorded for the project’s archive.
Introduction to Words For Wellbeing at Number One, 10th May
During the first week I also facilitated an introductory Words For Wellbeing workshop at Number One in Scott Skinner’s Square – a new community hub for Banchory and the surrounding area. This was held as part of the Aberdeenshire Wellbeing Festival.
Feedback from one of the participants:
“Enjoyed it very much as someone ‘new’ to creative writing. Manageable and supportive.”
Garden Party, 13th May
Over a hundred people came to the garden party held at the end of the first week. All were invited to go on a word search to find over eighty words hidden around. These took the form of acrylic words hung in trees, scrabble words attached to or hidden in other objects, multi-coloured words cut from foam and words hand-painted onto stones. Words were hidden on the ground, mid-height and just above head height – I wanted people to have to look up, down, and all around them to find the words and to take in the full wonder of the garden itself.
Everyone was invited to then write a poem with their found words and contribute it to the Flourish book. A wonderful variety of poems were written in, including some art work – a very fitting launch for the project as a whole.
PechaKucha Health and Wellbeing Event at The Belmont Cinema, 18th May
Linzy McAvoy, Learning and Education Officer at The Barn, and I were invited to present at this event run by the Arts and Health Network, Scotland. The evening was a celebration of the role of creativity in health and wellbeing emphasising the positive impact of the arts on humanity.
A PechaKucha presentation requires you to talk about 20 slides for 20 seconds each. This results in a fast-paced, visually driven presentation lasting a total of 6 minutes 40 seconds. It turned out to be a little nerve-wracking, 20 seconds was shorter than I thought, but ultimately a satisfying experience of detailing the conception of the Flourish project, its launch and our plans for its year-long run.
Wild Words, Throughout June
The Wild Words group ran for four weeks during June. We spent roughly half our time writing and sharing words in the garden with the other half in the Lang Byre when the weather became inhospitable. The group camaraderie grew quickly and this enabled a safe, trusting environment for people to express their writing voice and have it heard. The main focus was free writing and how this enables us to look at and understand our thoughts and feelings better. However, we also used the twenty-three words as inspiration for found poems and played with Haiku and Pantoum forms. We wrote a group poem together which has been recorded and will be shared on Sound Cloud in the near future.
Labyrinth Walk at Banchory River Festival, 10th June
Janis Wemyss, my fellow labyrinth facilitator, and I took the morning to lay a 42-foot classical labyrinth out of 200 feet of rope in Bellfield Park as part of this local festival. It was then open for walking, running, skipping and dancing for the afternoon. There were more opportunities to try out found poetry techniques and a further invitation to contribute poems to the Flourish book.
The garden continues to bloom and I am now on holiday during the kid’s school break. The twenty-three words remain in the garden and the found poetry writing prompt can be picked up from The Barn’s office or downloaded from the website to be used at anytime using this link:
Consider yourself invited to come and write and please share you writing by posting it in the Flourish post-box to add your own words to our ‘flourishing’ archive.