On a recent visit to an artisans show in Tavistock, my lovely wife and I had the good fortune to meet a warm, extremely good humoured and down to earth artist and crafter.
Shiva King was offering needle felt workshops which Mrs F couldn’t resist giving a try. I caught the tail end of the workshop, after doing the rounds of the many amazing stalls on show, and just a short spell watching created a calm, almost therapeutic, sense of wellbeing.
It was impressive to witness first hand how becoming absorbed in a creative craft can be so good for you. It also demonstrated why Shiva’s new venture is looking to be an extremely good fit for her.
Shiva has secured the Creative Mojo franchise for the Plymouth area. Creative Mojo is a national enterprise, with a strong ethos of social responsibility, offering all inclusive craft experiences for the elderly, adults with learning and physical disabilities and mental health concerns including dementia.
Within the Tamar Valley Shiva covers the Torpoint, Saltash, Plymouth, Tavistock, Yelverton and Gunnislake areas. Although predominantly offering art experiences in care homes, Shiva is also really keen to run sessions in day care centres, memory cafes and community centres.
Shiva tells me, “The idea behind creative mojo is just amazing” and the reception she has received from care homes is pretty amazing too! Perhaps that’s down to how she engages with the residents to create experiences they will remember, no mean feat when many are suffering from the most debilitating effects of dementia.
Shiva’s first steps, before undertaking any art work, are to pave the way through sensory stimulation. She may use scented flowers or play music, “Stimulating the senses gets the neurons firing again” she explains.
Next, she devises activities suited to the individual clients. Again, this is no mean feat considering the wide range of disabilities Shiva may have to cater for including those who cannot physically hold paint brushes or are visually impaired.
Painting is the main art form used, but for some participants the risk of getting too messy sees the need for alternatives. Catering for individual needs can see a wide range of innovative solutions used, from different colouring mediums through to eco friendly ‘scrape boards’ where artistic impressions can be created by touch alone and enjoyed before being re-used by others.
Taking on the franchise is the latest step in Shiva’s career as a creative. On leaving school she studied diplomas in Art & Design, carving and sculpting driftwood captured her imagination and became her chosen medium for the next twenty years.
A chance encounter with needle felting saw her change media and become well and truly hooked. She established She Felt Good, her venture offering workshops and felt characters for sale including caricatures of some of the World’s more notorious politicians.
An art teacher appraised Shiva’s creations as being ‘Strangely adorable felt thingumajigs!’
True to form, and her self deprecating good humour, Shiva incorporated this into her business cards to make an eye catching and ice breaking introduction. Shiva hopes to keep She Felt Good running as an enjoyable hobby.
For all her easy going humour and take on life, there is a steely resolve to make a real difference through Creative Mojo. Alongside her art work, Shiva has also built considerable experience in working with people with learning disabilities and special educational needs, “I have a real passion to work in that area through using art” she explains.
To those wondering if Shiva’s services are suitable for them her message is clear, “Get in touch and give it a try!” The care homes she has worked in have been surprised and delighted by the results and Shiva is especially keen to welcome more day centres and community groups into the fold. She is also very interested in the possibility of running sessions for children with special educational needs and learning disabilities.
“There have been some really unique experiences for those who have taken part. Many of the care homes have been really surprised at the positive results and it can make a real difference to the participants quality of life” she explains.
It’s impossible to disagree, especially if you are among the increasing number of families to bear witness to the cruel ravages of Alzheimer’s on loved ones. This remarkable woman deserves every luck and success with her unique offering.
Please note; the feature Image at header of this article is © Shiva King/Creative Mojo.
For more information and to connect with Shiva, follow her Creative Mojo, Plymouth, Facebook Page.
To find out more about Creative Mojo why not visit their website? This link will take you to Shiva’s page on the Creative Mojo website.
Did you know…?
“Dementia is one of the main causes of disability later in life, ahead of cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke. As a country we spend much less on dementia than on these other conditions”; Source: alzheimers.org.uk.
Clicking on this link will take you to a whole host of astonishing facts. Forecasts for future end of life mental health and care implications make for sobering reading.
Initiatives such as Shiva’s franchise demonstrate the value, and moreover the importance, of the public, private and charitable sectors all working together and contributing to the very best quality of life for our elderly and disabled.
If you or anyone you know are in any way connected to the provision or acceptance of care please share this article. Likewise, if you are undertaking a venture which make a contribution to communities in the Tamar Valley have a look at our ‘take part’ page about how you to can be considered for a free article on the website.