Japan & Gingerbread Men

We’ve recently visited a Stornoway Day Centre and Care Centre with Gill Thompson to create some lino print Christmas cards. We took along some pre-made designs to increase confidence before going along at a later date with some blank tiles and some designs to create of our own, perhaps from personal images or favourite places.

One gentleman is an Artist, mostly in the medium of clay sculpting but also some paints. He has also written a book of local stories, which I have shared with many people locally.


Today, we chatted about a local toddler, that this gentleman highlighted to me last year at the Christmas film, when I handed out some little playful Christmassy figures to anyone singing along to White Christmas. He explained that he was keeping his for this tiny premature baby born so early and how her story had touched his heart. By chance, I had been sitting next to this little girl and her family on the ferry en route to an event in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago and she looked healthy and happy and it was wonderful to see her doing so well. He was thrilled to hear she was growing and thriving and this clearly gave him a mid-afternoon boost. We chatted a little about art and the value of hand making Christmas cards. He made a lino print card with us and was excited to write it out for family. It may not be an intricate bust of a woman carrying peats or a military gentleman, as his past work had been, but it was a hand made card to share with family and to be treasured for that reason. We made a jolly green Christmas tree and it looked wonderful drying on the radiator for the afternoon.

Another gentleman from Ness made a robin print. He recalls robins sitting on the croft from time to time, not fences, though, there weren’t many fences back in his crofting days.


Another moving moment was enjoying two retired teachers working together. Gill has been a teacher and so had this lady. I laughed that Gill was finding it hard to retire and I enquired as to how the retirement process had been for her and she admitted that it was harder than one might think. A lovely conversation ensued about colleagues and connections and friendships through teaching but the sense of purpose, too. The baron (bear-on) was particularly enjoyed by this lady, for the fact that it came from Japan, the name of it and the fact that it was made from a bamboo leaf and was very obviously so from it’s texture.


Six additional residents participated and made a card (or three!) each. We had gingerbread men, stars, Christmas trees, robins and we even progressed on to colour mixing by the end of the session. Six staff members dropped by to participate in different stages and with Gill and myself, everyone was well supported to participate and to make the most of the session.


At the day centre, five people participated and made a card each, supported by three members of staff plus myself and Gill, so it was pretty much one to one support, which was wonderful. We recited the ‘gingerbread man’ rhyme, which some people recognised and some did not. We had fun selecting and mixing colours. A Priest (Father Roddy) was visiting and watching our creativity with great interest and he was asking if anyone would send him one of their wonderful hand made cards….maybe!


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