All forthcoming groups are listed below. To make a booking please go to the page for the location of the group you wish to attend.
If you are interested in this work but the location/timing does not suit, please feel free to contact me with an expression of interest via the 'contact' page. I am keen to expand the reach of these groups.
Groups in East Lothian page
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Creen Craft offers an opportunity to reinvigorate your capacity for Awe, Courage, and Beauty, by creating art in service to Nature. Honouring the Sacred in landscape is a radical and inspired response to the challenges posed by the time in which we live. An invitation to cultivate your relationship to the power within the land, seeking the wild heart of your own vision, and weaving this into group conversation.
This group work fuses art making, and conversation, as a means to explore what it is that landscape represents for you. When you experience a landscape, what is it that you are experiencing? What are your thoughts, feelings, images, and how might we consider these to be expressions of and from the land itself, not simply our own projections? We give primacy to the power of the imagination as a real and tangible expression of the Numinous, and in this way serve Nature by acknowledging that both the origin of the image, the impulse to make it visible, and our willed act of crafting it into being, are also parts of Nature.
Each piece of art made by an individual in the group is also considered to have been created by and belong to 'the group' as a whole. Our conversation begins when we view all the work together, bringing the various connecting strands between the images into relation. We respond to the content and form of the pieces, but are not concerned with their perceived quality. By so doing we remember ourselves as part of a greater whole, and that both our love and concern for the Earth also stems from it. Realising this in a visual form is a potent medicine for all.
The Soul of the Earth
This work begins with one core tenet that permeates every aspect of it - that we are not separate from Nature. Through art making, and insightful discussion, we seek to reinvigorate our sense of being from the Earth. Cultivating an identity in which we are more conscious of our immersion in a wider web of life, and able to approach and engage with those parts of ourselves that may have been at least partially exiled by living in a culture that often prefers to believe otherwise.
This wider web of life includes not only other humans, but the whole abundance; animals, earth, water, air, constituent parts of landscape. This view does not end at the visible, or elementally recognised outer world either, but also includes the inner life, the realms of feeling, imagination, perception, identity. A view of Self which acknowledges that we simply cannot be, without all other life.
A Capacity for Wonder
Wonder is not an accident, or an inevitability, but a skill which requires cultivation. It relates to the mysterious, a sense of awe at often quite ‘ordinary’ or taken for granted things - the ability to ask a question so great that it can survive all attempts at answering. From childhood onwards, our great questions are so often defeated, rather than answered in a meaningful way, as the mysterious is reduced to information, emptied of nourishment by the prevailing form of reductive intelligence. Wonder is easily chased from our thinking today, and Creen Craft offers a way of tending to what inspires you, and nurturing greater questions. When does Wonder present itself, and what moves you to the core of your being? Perhaps you may experience this in what is termed ‘nature writing,’ outdoor pursuits, art, a particular spiritual impulse, love for a place, partner, or pet.
The work we engage in could become a way of deepening these experiences, a new angle on what you already know as wondrous. A playful and enquiring approach to art making can be a grounded way to give form to great questions, and greet previously unknown possibilities.
Beauty and Grief
These two words can seem polarised when first encountered, but really are closely woven. Creen is a Scots word, which in this context means to cultivate a kind of lament, something of beauty to honour not only life which has departed from view, but can also replenish and praise that which surrounds us. For those who know a love for Nature no doubt also know the experience of pain which accompanies the realities facing us and the world in which we live, in many guises. Seeking to avoid acknowledging this less desirable feeling is a popular tactic, but one that in the long run cuts us off from important experiences, and is represented by the view of humanity as separate to ‘environment’. On the other hand trying to encourage others to sense the pain of the world without also knowing a strong love for the beauty which is still present, results in creating yet more fear and despair - what can be done, so why do anything?
Creen Craft looks to reconcile these two elements of our experience, and suggests that you do not have to choose between them. In my own art I often start out making a work by approaching the image as an act of devotional intent, honouring the body of Earth. This in itself can be a potent medicine.
The Presence of the Imaginal
Working with the imaginal means giving primacy to the reality of image, without interfering and imposing upon it. It requires a stance which may say “to me the image came,” which is something of a reversal to the usual notion that all powerful ‘I’ creates everything seen within. Certainly the imaginal can be worked with, and I would regard the art making in Creen Craft as being a conversation free of words. What images come to you, and how will you respond? Much like Wonder, our imaginative faculties are often subdued by a world which values consensus, blandness, and tame qualities over wildness, vivacity, and freedom. There is also a tendency to close the door upon possibility.
Which member/s of the inner cast of your imagination does this speak to? Who is piping up, strongly for or against such ideas? Who might have just been woken from a slumber by such a suggestion? Is it possible that you may even attend a group with a sense that you are doing so on behalf of something that you wouldn’t fully claim to know? This could be within you, or perhaps a landscape, place, or an other than-human being.
Woundedness and Healing
It is sometimes written, that ones deepest gifts are in proximity to a sense of being wounded. This is where courage comes in, what could be referred to as the skill of ‘broken heartedness.’ This is not to be taken as a downward gazing lethargy, but as a willingness to saddle ones sensitivity and let it lead the way, being open to all the beauty and grief that we might encounter. I remember becoming strongly aware of the inherent healing properties in Nature whilst studying art in Wales, observing that the great spoil heaps of waste from mining had begun to grass over in places. The potential is there for life to emerge, greening the scars of a deep wound, yet it is still a presence in the landscape not entirely hidden. I titled my dissertation Beginning With the Wound, Remedy in the Affliction. Looking back now I see this as a kind of unfolding of which I could not be fully aware at the time, which then led to combining art with therapy, and is still a core theme of my work today. What ails? Not only within you, but the world around.
Facilitated by Andrew Phillips Ba(Hons) Fine Art, MA Art Psychotherapy. I have been exploring a love of landscape through my art practice for over ten years. I have worked with individuals and groups, in a variety of settings, including the NHS. I am registered with the Health Care Professionals Council (HCPC). Throughout this website you will be able to find out more about my approach to art, and what inspires me to do this work with people. If you should have any further questions please get in touch via the contact page.
HOW THE GROUP WORKS
Each session is divided into several periods, with a distinct flow of activity. To begin I will read from relevant texts by way of setting the scene, designating the time and space in which the group takes place as being distinct, and for a particular purpose. This will also introduce topics for discussion and consideration, and from this there may arise a theme, or question which calls out to you. Then we move on to making art. This is your time to engage in image making in your own way, whatever feels important at that moment, and however it needs to be expressed. Then we gather to view and discuss what has been created. This pattern may then be repeated, perhaps with variations in theme, or intention. There may be a question to consider, or a prominent topic which emerges from our group discussion, and inspires or guides your work in some way. You have the freedom to decide how to proceed, and to use the materials provided in your own manner.
In the groups we place an emphasis on the content of the images, rather than making judgements in terms of artistic accomplishment. We also refrain from interpreting individual images (an everything stands for something else approach), instead viewing everyones work together, as individual parts of a wider collective, making connections, and allowing the images to speak to us.
WHAT IS CREEN CRAFT INFORMED BY?
Creen Craft exists within the overlap of the respective fields known as Deep Ecology, Ecopsychology, and Art. Deep Ecology holds as its key tenet that human life exists in an interdependent relationship with all other life. As such, all lifeforms have intrinsic value in and of themselves, irrespective of whether they are of ‘use’ to mankind, and are all connected to the same web of life. So to damage or exert influence on one part of the system, can cause harm to other parts, including humanity.
Ecospychology, as the name suggests, places emphasis upon the psychological aspects of this interconnectedness with other life. However, it is not so much one easy to define discipline in itself, as a way of approaching a variety of other closely connected areas from the perspective of Psyche, such as - Human Ecology, Nature Spirituality, Transpersonal Psychology, Environmental Activism, Ecotherapy, Philosophy. So this would include emotional responses, the body-mind connection, and ways of considering images.
Throughout the ages Art and the natural world have been intertwined. From the first known 'art' daubed directly onto the body of Earth in caves, to depictions of the land through other mediums, more recently artist interventions in the natural environment and the re-contextualising of materials such as rock and mud into gallery settings in the form of sculpture and installation.
Please have a look through the following (fairly extensive) FAQs section prior to booking. I hope any general questions you may have about Creen Craft will be answered here. If you have a question which is not covered then please email me at email@example.com. Further information can also be found on my website
Do I need to book in advance?
It is important that you book prior to attending the session. Places are limited to keep the group size small. You are advised to book in advance, via Eventbrite, to ensure your place. I will not be offering a 'pay on the door' option for these groups.
Can I bring children to the group / can young people attend?
This event is open to those aged 18 or over. Whilst I have worked with children and young people, and appreciate the importance and value of doing so, this group is for adults, and the space cannot accommodate children during the session.
What is the refund policy?
Please be advised that the ticket price will not be refunded if you are unable to, or decide not to attend.
In the event that I have to cancel the session a refund will be provided.
Is my registration/ticket transferrable?
It is valid only for the session for which it has been booked, and can not be transferred to another session.
In the event that I have to cancel the session a refund will be provided.
What can/can't I bring to the event?
A range of art materials will be provided. Please do not bring your own, as it is important that all participants have access to the same materials.
Please do not bring pets to the group.
Is Creen Craft therapy?
These sessions are not intended to replicate art therapy, or group therapy in the traditional sense. However, it is likely that in the process of devoting ourselves to the wonder and beauty of life, that we also encounter the difficult, painful, and problematic - all of which have their place and part to play. The therapeutic, transformative, or healing aspect of this work, will be found through bearing witness to life as we know it to be, in all its various aspects, attesting to what inspires our being in the world through creative acts.
Is Creen Craft an art lesson?
In this work I will not be teaching any art techniques, or skills, or even suggesting how you are to go about using the materials. However, that is not to say that learning will not occur. You may encounter ideas in work made by others, and you might also discover simply by experimenting, or by 'not knowing' what to do, that in fact you have your own way of going about making imagery. An extremely valuable insight!
Are there rules?
There will be some basic, yet essential boundaries that all participants (including myself) will be expected to adhere to. This is in order to establish an atmosphere of trust in which you feel able to express yourself in the company of others. The boundaries particularly relate to confidentiality, use of mobile phones/camera's, inappropriate behaviour. This will be elaborated upon at the beginning of the session.
Do I need to be good at making art?
A purpose of this group is to nurture the spontaneous use of art materials to express yourself, in a particular time and place, and as such you cannot do this wrong. Each work is also viewed in the context of being a single part of a group of works, made by everyone present. So, for example, if you feel it has been very difficult to express yourself as you wished, we would consider this as not just a personal struggle or difficulty, but as a valid part of the experience of the whole group. We would then consider what this may communicate regarding struggle, lack of agency, and frustrations at the difficulty of free expression in the world at large. Sometimes the greatest breakthroughs for a group emerge from difficulties. Likewise, it is also quite possible that one who enters the group not feeling confident in their abilities, may experience surprise and delight at what does manifest.
This area of research has been my lifework/I am an established artist, am I welcome?
Yes, you certainly are.
What if I feel nervous / don't have anything to say in the group / or don't know what to do?
Whilst all participants are encouraged to contribute to discussion and art making, it is sometimes the case that one cannot find the words, especially in a group setting. Or that what is felt does not have words - hence the power of image making to reveal and make visible. It is also acknowledged that often when faced with art materials even a prolific artist can find themselves stuck. If this happens it is considered part of the creative process, and the work of the group as a whole. You cannot do it wrong!
I like the sound of this work, but do not wish to take part in a group session. Do you offer individual work?Yes, I can also work with you on an individual basis, for short-term or ongoing therapeutic work. Please get in touch via my website or email.
I cannot attend on this date. Will you be offering more sessions like this?
To be informed first when new sessions are available, please visit my website and sign up to the mailing list. If you would like to suggest a particular location, or venue then please get in touch.
Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?
Upon arrival I will check your name against my list of attendee's, and the ticket would be useful confirmation in the event of any discrepancies.
What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?
Please see the individual page for the location you require.
Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?
Please contact me via email - - with any questions you may have.