Handmade Wellbeing: a Winter’s Tale

By February 10, 2017 Features No Comments

The Erasmus+ Handmade Wellbeing project aims to train and mentor community artists to work with older populations, engaging residents of care homes in meaningful creative activity to boost confidence, social interaction and quality of life. Superact have partnered with the University of Helsinki, UniT Arts Assocation at the University of Graz, Austria, and Tartu University in Estonia to share learning and best practice across European countries. We have put together a keen team of South West-based artists who are delivering a series of craft workshops with care home residents, working towards a conference and exhibition in Somerset in March. The 11-strong UK team are currently visiting Estonia for a week of learning and workshops hosted by Tartu. Project Manager Janine reports back on the first part of their visit:

Superact arrived at Tartu University in snowy Estonia on Tuesday for the start of the Handmade Wellbeing Learner Week. The day started with a presentation and guided tour of the craft rooms. We learned about the importance of local folk culture and arts in modern Estonia, and visited the Metalworks Centre where our artists took a workshop in jewellery design. We gathered together later for an evening of Estonian Folk Music and a sharing of our national dishes: a delightful start to our workshop week.

On Wednesday we travelled by bus through the winter wonderland Estonian countryside to our first care home visit. The home is a former orphanage and has a new and old section. It is much sought after as the views are stunning and the extensive gardens are enjoyed by Residents, especially in summer months.  We lined up to be introduced to 97 year old Eva who greeted us from her bed. Eva speaks a little English and delighted us with her smiles and warmth. We climbed the four floors and marvelled at the long distance views over Viljandi. This must be comforting for Residents who have moved from their homes in the town.

We met people in a shared bedroom, divided by a curtain, who asked us for our impressions of their home.  In a community room a resident greeted me in German welcoming me to his home. He asked me where we all came from and was intrigued that we came from England, Finland and Austria.  The bus whisked us away to our next destination and we arrived back in Viljandi at a care setting for more able residents. The facilities were astonishing and we briefly joined a traditional Estonian ballet class in a real mirrored studio. This was followed by yoga and then a badge-making activity with female residents. We all came away with our own designer reflectors, ensuring that Superact UK were complying with Estonian law.

We are eagerly anticipating tomorrow’s conference and exhibition.

For more information on the project or to get involved please contact janine@superact.org.uk