On a large table in Gillingham Library is a large table filled with scraps of fabric, buttons, stamps, old letters and large bottles of glue. Seated at it, making pictures from this ephemera, is Grace Dalgleish, Gillingham Library’s Artist-in-Residence, and with her locals who have come along to enjoy the process – and freedom – of creating a picture that reflects their lives.
‘As adults we don’t allow ourselves to play and experiment and this gives us time to do that,’ says Grace. ‘Creating something allows people switch off from life’s complications – it helps us to be present in the moment. It also gives us to chance to chat.’
Grace, who is certainly friendly and easy to talk to, studied illustration many years ago and has since worked with a wide range of people, from those with dementia and who have suffered from strokes to primary school children with mental health issues.
Her free drop-in sessions at Gillingham Library are for all adults and are part of the ongoing libraries as cultural hubs project. The theme of the pictures is ‘Your Story Matters’ with those taking part creating images that represent their lives. ‘It’s saying that individuality matters, that your contribution to society matters whether you’re working or not, whether you’re a carer….’ says Grace.
Grace will use the pictures made to create a totem that will be on display in the library. ‘Totems are significant in many cultures, showing what communities represented,’ she explains.
Grace is in Gillingham Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout January . The next session is on January 7 from 1.45pm-4pm. For more information, telephone the library on 01747 822180.