On Tuesday 7th February, we travelled to the east coast to meet a wonderful group of parents from Margate. As part of a pioneering 16-week Creative Enablers course for parents, running alongside the Turner Contemporary’s Art Inspiring Change programme for children, we delivered a hands-on day of Mindful Creativity, exploring Positive Psychology, Mindfulness and Creativity.
This workshop marked a year to the day since our drop-in drawing day at the Turner in 2016. It was wonderful to be back.
“Fantastic workshop” – Tamara Rattigan (Children’s Illustrator and parent)
“Very insightful and calm session with SketchBetter today. Understanding our character strengths using art and psychology.” – Art Inspiring Change, Creative Enablers programme leaders
Dear Friends and Parents,
As the leaves fall all around it us let it offer us the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past and shed unwanted burdens. Let us celebrate the fiery season of Autumn with it’s vibrant and changing shades of oranges, yellows and reds. This is the ideal time to practice Sound Meditation or Mindful Listening – made all that much easier by the blustery wind and crunchy leaves.
Thursday Kids’ Club moves to Surbiton
As some of you know, our Thursday Kids’ Art Club is moving venue. From Thursday 3rd Nov the club will start again for 7 weekly lessons at the coffee bar in Surbiton Hill Methodist Church. The church is on Ewell Road, next to the Fire Station and there is parking for dropping off the children. Click here for a map. The club remains at the same time, 4-5.30pm. Booking is now open and prices now remain at a fixed fee of £10/week. Remember we have limited spaces and serve a first come, first served policy. Please do let local families know that we have moved and sign your children up for 7 weeks of brand new art lessons. Book now
Calm Exhibition at Alexandra School
To welcome the Alexandra School children to the new year I erected an exhibition of the children’s art work and mindfulness learning as a school-wide Exhibition of Calm. The communal spaces within the school have been cleared to make way for calm spaces and an exhibition featuring a woven CD wall (pictured), Mindful Moment woollen sticks, large circle paintings, observational shoe drawings, a calm mosaic and a “look up” exhibit of hanging displays in the atriums. It’s quite something and the response has been humbling. Thank you to Chantell Adams and designer Rachel Chung for your hands-on and creative help.
Calm for Kids with Christiane Kerr
Earlier this month I took part in a Calm for Kids training course in teaching Mindfulness to Children. Wow, what an incredible weekend. The course was held at artist Ben Johnson’s studio, which was an unexpected and incredibly appropriate treat! I learnt six Mindfulness lessons designed by Christiane Kerr, plus heaps of extra activities and ideas. Since then, I’ve put these lessons straight into practice and have begun teaching the Year 2 and 3’s at Alexandra School in Kingston. The response has been wonderful and together with the senior team we’re planning a Mindful Day for the whole school. Thank you Christiane, for all you do.
Welcome the New Ladies
I am super excited to welcome Pauline Hennessey to the teaching team. Pauline is an experienced artist and illustrator. Next half term she will be leading some of our Thursday lessons to give the children a different experience and valuable finer detail skills, such as watercolour painting. These will be especially exciting for those children who have been coming to SketchBetter for a while now and are ready for new challenges! Pauline is also heading to the Whitechapel Gallery in London to meet some Primary Teachers, learn more about teaching art to children, and spread some SketchBetter love. She’ll be reporting back on her day.
I am also excited to welcome Chantell Adams to the team. Chantell has been involved with SketchBetter since the very very beginning and I’m so pleased to say she will be working with me one day a week, to develop our Educational programmes and Psychology research. Chantell will also be running our Friday after-school club at Alexandra School in Kingston, allowing me time to focus on my MSc research into the impact of Story Spheres on children under 7. Chantell will also be running Christmas holiday Art workshops.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank April Chitty for her loyalty and support over the past 6 weeks and past year. April is moving into a new full-time role, working to support children with learning difficulties. She remains involved in SketchBetter as our Photographer and leads us in our service development into health. We’re in early conversations with Kingston Hospital and Macmillan about running Mindful Creativity workshops with cancer patients. SketchBetter is also pleased to announce it’s voluntary support to April’s Cancer Support group, which she runs monthly in Richmond Park. I’ll be bringing Positive Psychology, Mindfulness and Art to the group each month.
If anyone else is interested in running classes, workshops or is interested in working with me and SketchBetter, please do get in touch. Happy Monday everyone. Thank you for all of your support and continued championing.
With Autumnal love,
I ran a 2 hour Mindful Creativity workshop for the design team at Smart Design London this summer. After a powerful hour, learning about mindfulness – what it is and how it can help us, I taught the team some techniques to help them practice being more mindful in their every day lives.
We did a group meditation and then the team took part in a 45 minute Story Spheres exercise, with some outstanding insights and responses.
Well done Smart! Keep practicing. x
“Whoever you are, whatever you do, find time to book in a session with Kate Andrews at SketchBetter. We had an incredibly powerful two hour session with her at our London office, with each and every one of us learning something to actively improve our mental health. We are a creative consultancy who use our imaginations every day but rarely stop to think how to maintain good mental health.
In the fast paced business world today it’s hard to stop but the effectiveness of her work is immeasurable. I cannot recommend SketchBetter highly enough.”
– Ruby Steel, Senior Design Strategist, Smart Design.
Throughout 16-20th July, at Cass Art in Kingston, twenty-two young artists (ages 2-9) will be exhibiting a body of creative work in our very first kids exhibition! From acrylic paintings and animations, to observational drawings and collage, there’ll be something that catches everyone’s eye.
Peruse the children’s self-directed learning and experiments in a special display of working sketchbooks, try your hand at weaving on our giant teepee and take a calm moment with some of our mindful activities.
The SketchBetter Kids Exhibition will be open from Saturday 16th July – Wednesday 20th July and doors will be open during Cass Art store hours. FREE entry. Suitable for all ages. Please note there is no step free access to the venue.
During the Easter half term I ran the first SketchBetter Design Lab with five exceptional young ladies, aged 6- 10 years old. I was so blown away by their creativity, motivation and teamwork. Here’s a quick overview of the three day lab, which set out to teach them the design process.
Day One: Defining the Challenge
On our first morning we discussed a range of problems, challenges and interests – we had discussions on homelessness, poverty, lying, friendships, equality and environmental issues like deforestation, pollution and climate change. The girls used mind-mapping and voting skills. Continue reading
Booking is open for our Easter Holiday Drawing Day. On Sunday 3 April, we will be kitting out the Art Space* above Cass Art in Kingston, for another spectacular Mindful Creativity Day, for kids and their families. Come, bring the family, relax and draw with us for the day.
Doors open from 11am-4pm. You can drop in for as long as you like, stay for an hour or all day. Everyone is welcome (children under 5 must be accompanied by an adult at all times).
What to Expect
On the floor we’ll have a huge paper canvas out – and everyone is invited to come and draw around a chosen theme and set of questions. Can you draw with your feet? Can you draw backwards? Can you draw around someone? How big can you draw? How small can you draw? Continue reading
This weekend SketchBetter is heading north to Nottingham to take part in The Festival of Science and Curiosity, led by Ignite! Futures. To celebrate Valentine’s Day on Sunday we’re popping-up at the Intu Broadmarsh shopping centre. Come and exercise your creativity, engage your curiosity and take part in visual art activities all about LOVE.
You will also be able to find out information about the sciences of mindfulness, positive psychology and creativity. Everybody is welcome – we will have a huge paper canvas out and invite everyone to come and contribute to a community mural, Draw Love. Continue reading
This weekend my amazing team of SketchBetter volunteers and I took over the Learning Studio at the Turner Contemporary in Margate, to run an afternoon of Mindful Drawing. We had 100s of people through the doors to take part in our drawing activities – here are the photos from the day. Continue reading
[Conference Review by Kate Andrews]
Take it slowly. This was the overriding message from the speakers at the 2016 Mindfulness and Education Conference, held at London’s Institute of Education on Friday. Organised by The Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), the conference promised to provide an update of the organisation’s efforts to introduce mindfulness into UK schools, through their .b [dot-be] courses.