Saturday, 18 June 2016

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Please do not disturb! Writing in response to photos from the C&C Archive
During one of my recent workshops, I asked the group - who I have been working with since January, why the weekly writing workshops matter to them? I asked them this because they were talking about how they really didn't like it when they had to miss a week. They said they do everything they can each week to make space in their busy lives.

Here are some of the comments:


"I really look forward to Thursdays. I'm itching to get there. You've got someone who knows more than you do...It's for my general welfare. I love to read and I love to explore. It takes you away from reality, clears your mind.  EL

"It makes you focus on the things you want to focus on - feeling challenged. Having that respite...suddenly transports you somewhere else." MG

Over to you: 
Why does writing matter to you? If you attend creative writing workshops, why do they matter?
Comments welcome on the blog! 



A C&C creative writing workshop in action

Hearing discussions like this and the support that the writers in all of my weekly groups give each-other, makes it all the more worth while. We recently arranged for one of my regular C&C Housing Trust creative writing groups from a sheltered housing scheme for older people, to  visit an art group at another sheltered housing scheme. It was a wonderful morning, as you can see from the pictures below. We had taken both groups to Charleston House to support the work we did on the Bloomsbury group and as a result, they have produced powerful writing and art work. Some of the writing pieces had been sent over to the art group and they had painted in response to them. When the groups met up, they then read the writing and showed the art work which corresponded to the piece. There was such genuine interest and respect. 



Two C&C groups share their work - creative writing & art pieces

When not running workshops, I can be found rummaging through the trunk (below) which is full of incredible letters, books, photographs and treasures yet to be discovered - all of which belonged to Mrs Chesterton the founder of C&C (Central & Cecil Housing Trust). This research forms part of our ACE funded 'My Front Door Project,' which will culminate in a site specific performance at end of September for International Older People's Day. Each time I visit the trunk I find more gems and feel very privileged to spend so much time there.

Mrs Chesterton's Trunk

The regular Creative Writes Workshops in Muswell Hill, N10 started again last week with the new Themed Workshop 'Keys.' It was fantastic to work with such an enthusiastic and focused group of Creative Writes Returners! We looked at poems from Jean Sprackland's Collection 'Sleeping Keys,' which was perfect inspiration. I was also lucky enough to have new keys added to my collection by a kindly locksmith! I will offer this workshop again. 

Here is a comic and comment from one of the participants:


"I wonder what door this opens?" Cartoon by Divyam Chaya Bernstein, after the Creative Writes 'Keys' Workshop
"Had a wonderful time last night at the Creative Writes workshop led by the fabulous Nichola Charalambou on the theme of keys!" Divyam Chaya Bernstein




WHAT'S NEXT WITH CREATIVE WRITES?

Creating Character Themed Workshop - Wednesday 22nd June, 7.30pm.

Colour As Writing Inspiration - Wednesday 29th June, 7.30pm.

Block of Three July 2016 Creative Writing Workshops from Wednesday 13th July, 7.30pm.


More Creative Writes Workshop dates coming soon! 

All Creative Writes Workshops are in central Muswell Hill, N10. There is a maximum of ten in each group. We give you time and space to write. Workshops are small, supportive, motivational and tailor-made. 

See you soon!

Nichola x


Friday, 20 May 2016

WHAT HAVE YOU DISCOVERED?

The view of Chester Town Centre from the Roman City Walls

Hello,

This month has been all about research and new discoveries...from a weekend exploring Chester and attending the Lapidus National Conference (Lapidus is the Writing for Wellbeing Organisation that Creative Writes is a Professional Member of: http://www.lapidus.org.uk/), a visit to the V&A Archives with my C&C colleague & creative writing group from a sheltered housing scheme (photos below) and a moving visit to the V&A Museum of Childhood with the Women's Creative Writing Group I teach, to see the exhibition 'On Their Own': http://www.vam.ac.uk/moc/exhibitions/on-their-own-britains-child-migrants/

C&C Creative Writing Group learning the history of 1920's garments
Victorian staircase - V&A Archives
This shoe holds many stories
Glorious Liberty cloak
Folding top hat for the opera

The visit to the V&A Archives was part of an exciting new project funded by the Arts Council, which I am involved with for C&C https://www.ccht.org.uk/'My Front Door,' which will focus on the founder and other key figures in the social housing provider's 90 year history. I will be blogging more about this project.

I have been humbled by the stories collected and imagined - faced with objects now faded from wear and love, some of which meant so much to the owner, such as the miniature house below at the Museum of Childhood exhibition; 


"Every night she fell asleep clutching her little house and dreaming of a proper family."
Precious miniature objects belonging to a child migrant, who was sent to Australia from England
I have started to use some of these finding in my workshops. 

Try This! Visit an exhibition and focus on an object from the collection. Carry on its story...tell its journey and that of its owner.

The programme of workshops I am currently delivering include the new block of 6 workshops at Mayfair Library, my regular Read Aloud Poetry Workshops and Creative Writing Workshops in Sheltered housing, Supported housing and Care homes for C&C, weekly workshops in Angel, Battersea and Kew and my regular Creative Writes Workshops in Muswell Hill, N10. I also have some new one to one Masterclasses and Skype sessions, which are great fun!

I am delighted to announce the Creative Writes Summer 2016 Workshop Programme! All workshops are in central Muswell Hill, London, N10.

The programme includes a brand new themed workshop 'Keys,' the return of favourite Themed Workshops and a block of three Wednesdays. Take a look and book here: 















Monday, 18 April 2016

A STORY SHARED

The Creative Writes video tells our story 



Hello & welcome!

The whirlwind of activity has continued to spin around the Creative Writes core! We had a wonderful set of five creative writing workshops at our headquarters in Muswell Hill, N10. The group formed a bond and we covered a range of material, while I guided the group through a series of fast paced free flow writes. As always, there was no critique on the writing and the group said that this was an important element in freeing them up to develop their voice and writing style.

In addition to my regular workshops in North London, I travel around a fair amount for the different projects & workshops I run as a freelancer for different organisations.  I have recently run a series of workshops along the theme Around The Kitchen Table for C&C Housing Trust (Central & Cecil), working mainly in their Care Homes. I took along poetry, anecdotes and images to trigger discussion and memories. It has been great fun collecting anecdotes from friends and family too! 

Here is one of the powerful poems we read in the sessions:


PERHAPS THE WORLD ENDS HERE by Joy Harjo
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

Spending some time with the swans in Windsor when there for 'Around The Kitchen Table'


'Around The Kitchen Table' Workshop in South London
Next Workshops are our Creative Writes Themed Creating Character this Wednesday 20th April 2016 and then Myriad of Objects and Colour As Writing Inspiration (all on Wednesday evenings). This is followed by our Block of Three Workshops on Wednesdays 11, 18th & 25th May 2016. All Creative Writes Workshops are in central Muswell Hill, N10. Full details here: 
http://www.creativewrites.co.uk/p/bookings-workshop-info-how-to-book.html







Wednesday, 30 March 2016

AS THE LIGHT CHANGES...

Watch the Creative Writes Video below  - find out what we do and hear from our participants:





Spring blossom


Hello, I hope this finds you well,

With the start of a new season, there is a new light. And with the new light, we start to see clearer. We start to see what it is we want to do, say and write. I have sensed a renewed writing energy in  the Creative Writes workshops, an impenetrable wall of concentration and focus, The only sound I can hear is that of the writers' pens and pencils scratching at high speed across the page.

WRITING IDEA
Is there something that has become clearer to you now that the light has changed? What is it that you really want to say? Set your clock for ten minutes and go! 

Sun fighting through today

We are four weeks in to our five week block of Creative Writes Workshops at the lovely North Bank House in Muswell Hill, North London, N10. We have shared stories, laughter and reflection through the writing. Every workshop, there is a reminder of how privileged I am to witness the courage and creativity of my participants.


Spike Milligan statue in the park, North London
I have been running Creative Writes since 2009 and this year, this season- I feel a shift. The business has reached a different stage and I have never been happier. There are exciting plans ahead -  both at home and away. 

Next workshops are our Creative Writes Themed Creating Character, Myriad of Objects and Colour As Writing Inspiration Workshops on Wednesday evenings. This is followed by our Block of Three Workshops on Wednesdays 11, 18th & 25th May. All Creative Writes Workshops are in central Muswell Hill, N10.

The Muswell Hill workshops will always be at the heart of my work and you can see our new Spring 2016 programme here:
http://www.creativewrites.co.uk/p/bookings-workshop-info-how-to-book.html



Thanks for reading.

I look forward to seeing you soon!



Nichola x

Monday, 14 March 2016

A NOTE FROM THE HILL

Illustration by Charlie Adams: Muswell Hill - The Aspiring Suburb

Hello from Muswell Hill headquarters!

Verse by John Ringham: Muswell Hill - The Aspiring Suburb
I found this lovely little book in Muswell Hill Library and thought I would share some pages with you here. I also wanted to share the Week of Tweets by Jane - one of the new Creative Writes volunteers, who has been working wonders with our social media and development. Please scroll down for highlights from Jane's tweets. Watch out for Adam's tweets soon. 2016 is turning out to be a whirlwind of a year so far! It was a pleasure to run the January, February and March Creative Writes workshops at Muswell Hill Library (in partnership with the Friends of Muswell Hill Library), which were really well attended and we had a great response. Our February themed workshops at Muswell Hill Methodist Church/North Bank included Creating Character and Winter. We are into the second week of our block of five Creative Writes Workshops - with a fantastic, focussed group. We played with hats and invented new characters last week - more to come.

In other news - I have been attending exciting planning and research meetings at C&C (Central & Cecil) for our new ACE funded project in sheltered housing schemes and some of their other supported housing. I am honoured to be involved in this new project, as-well as my ongoing work with the housing trust. Watch this space!

My Mimosa Women's Creative Writing Workshops in partnership with Chalk the Sun, the Avenue Club Workshops in Kew and Claremont Centre Workshops, all continue to be inspiring. Teaching is always full of surprises and I am learning all the time. 

Looking ahead to Spring at Creative Writes - we have our two Saturday afternoon workshops with BonaFide Studio, new Themed Workshops and a block of three workshops on Wednesday evenings. All workshops are in central Muswell HIll, N10. Here's the link for booking and info:
http://www.creativewrites.co.uk/p/bookings-workshop-info-how-to-book.html

I hope you enjoy reading! Bye for now.

Nichola x


JANE DAVIDSON'S WEEK OF TWEETS FOR CREATIVE WRITES:

  1. Final day as Relaxing after a weekend away
watched Philomena Just finished crying Well told and brave

  1. Completed coaching and mentoring course! Ready for tonight's workshop
  2. our workshops at Northbank all have disabled access

  3. More AM Writing assignments PM Followed by CW meetup