Creative Corner

Creative Corner

Creative Corner
The benefits of participating in creative activities such as art, crafts and writing have long been recognised as beneficial to good mental health. Multiple studies confirm that creative activities can increase positive emotions, lessen depressive symptoms, reduce stress, decrease anxiety, and even improve immune system functioning. They can help to boost confidence and make us feel more engaged and resilient. Creativity allows us to view and solve problems more openly and with innovation; it opens the mind, broadens our perspectives and can help us overcome prejudices.

4Winds has a long history of encouraging participation in the ‘arts’, with numerous taster sessions, workshops and classes either taking place in our centre or in the community and arranging occasional visits to art exhibitions/museums. Many of the activities have been peer led, with 4Winds members sharing a wealth of talent and inspiring others over the years.

Whale Out of Water Project

‘A whale out of water’ is an art and creative writing project based on the story of the Grangetown Whale. Funded by Literature Wales and run in partnership with 4Winds and Grangetown Art Trail, the project aims to use art and creative writing to improve mental wellness. We invite anyone who feels that their wellness could benefit from some creativity to take part.

Hammad Rind will host four creative writing workshops based around the story of the Grangetown Whale, who made its way up the Taff into Grangetown, and the feelings of anxiety, loneliness and unease we experience when we feel we don’t belong. The focus of the sessions is to foster a sense of community, claiming a space for ourselves and allowing ourselves to belong.

Artist Chris House will create a large piece of art of the Grangetown Whale as a visual representation for the project which will be displayed at the Grangetown Zoo 5-6 June. The Grangetown Zoo is a two-day celebration of community, art and creativity around Grangetown where we will transform the streets into an artistic zoo.

Participants will receive art kits to create their own fish to swim alongside the whale and anyone who would like can record their creative writing to be played as part of the display.

You are invited to attend all or any of the scheduled events. This includes the free writing course (four sessions), a ‘write from home’ worksheet (in case you would like to write something but are unable to attend the sessions), and the art kit (to create your Grangetown Zoo fish).
If you would like to get involved by attending the writing sessions, receiving an art kit to create a fish, recording a story or receiving a ‘write from home’ worksheet to create a story from home then please book a place on the Eventbrite page. Link below:
For more information see:

Making Portraits Telling Stories

Our latest project – places still available please see the link for details

Painting by Isobel Oak

This painting by 4Winds member Izzy has been enjoyed by many people over the last few years as it sits on the wall of the main sitting/meetings/social contact room at the 4Winds Resource centre. Izzy, a talented artist has produced work for 4Winds and has supported many of our creative activities such as facilitating a user led art class and contributing towards various events.We are proud of Izzy’s achievements and delighted that she is now utilising her skills and experience working for the Pendine Community Mental Health Team as a Peer Support Worker. For more information and to read Izzy’s personal story.

Stiwdio Arts Project

This is a lovely independent, inclusive project aimed at providing creative spaces and opportunities to improve general wellbeing. It was set up by Louise Jensen, a community artist with lived experience who forged good links with 4Winds and delivered her first project with 4Winds involvement and support. Some examples of the work produced can be seen below. For more information, please visit the Stiwdio Arts facebook page link below:
In 2016 this arts for wellbeing project set within the Grangetown Bowls Pavilion community garden , explored bees and pollinator flowers through mixed media, in collaboration with arts practitioners Sarah Morgan and Anna Carlisle. The project was supported by 4Winds open access mental health resource and Cardiff University Community Gateway project with funding from Neighbourhood Partnership Grant (Cardiff Council) for Grangetown.
November 2017 - Working with Cardiff University Special Collections & Archives and 4Winds open access mental health resource we explored the Collingwood Family Collection creating miniature accordion books, unique portraits of each of the family members. Funded by Welsh Government through the Explore your Archives initiative, the artworks were exhibited at the Collingwood Conference in 2018 and then accessioned into the special collections the same year.

About Ellie

Elen (or Ellie as many at 4Winds knew her) Mai Wyn-Jones (1982-2015) was a Welsh artist who worked in a variety of media – primarily working with textiles – published her own zines. She was a 4Winds member and a grassroots mental health activist.
In unfortunate circumstances, Elen sadly died in 2015 and an exhibition took place in Cardiff comprised of fragments of her body of work. Due to often precarious housing situations (especially towards the end of her life) some of her work was lost along the way – friends helped piece together the artworks; others were destroyed by Elen herself. This is the write up from the exhibition and impressive collection of Elen’s work that took place in November 2019:
As well as being a fitting tribute to Elen’s life and art we hope this exhibition will invite you to consider how the art world treats ‘outsider’ artists; and how we can better support those with mental illness in all aspects of society.
Elen’s main interest was in the use of textiles and knitted art, which formed the basis of both her installations and wall art. She combined these familiar – and comforting – materials, sometimes made into patterned objects and accessories, with other raw and surprising elements; producing an atmosphere often perceived as sinister.
One of Elen’s main preoccupations was to play with and subvert the discourse in the Fine Arts versus Craft debate. She attributed this to her own experience of this debate; which she interpreted as a ploy by the Art World to exclude some forms of cultural and institutional art output, by classifying them as unacceptable as Art (rather categorising them as 'outsider' forms), prompting a voyeuristic assessment of the artist, rather than the art itself.
Elen graduated from The University of Wales, Newport in 2009 with a First Class Honours degree in Fine Art. She created an installation for the Welsh Assembly as part of Mind Cymru’s 40th Birthday celebrations and led a week-long performative collaboration at the National Eisteddfod 2012. Her exhibitions included numerous shows at the Milgi Lounge, Cardiff, solo and group involvement with Tracey Moberly's exhibition Tweet-me-up! at the Tate Modern and exhibiting in concept shop and gallery Cult Mountain in Shoreditch, London.
Of the many of her creative and talented friends to perform at the exhibition was Will Ford, a local poet and friend of 4Winds. Here is a poem Will wrote for/in memory of Ellie:

for Ellie

What makes a heart
Stop beating earlier
Than it really should
If life was more fair?
Does it happen if
Someone gives a
Piece of their heart
To others too often?
Or is that the highest
Calling to answer?
To treat hearts
As something
To share?
Knowing the number of beats
They will beat until beaten
Is as many or as few as
They end up beating
A fact guided by things
Beyond who we are
Because life is not
Kind enough to Be more fair To the kind Than the Unkind?


For more information on WILL and his social media links, please ​

A Fable by 4Winds member, Will Bartram

The Ficts and The Facts

On an island a long way from here there were two warring tribes. The Ficts and The Facts. They had both been at war as long as anyone could remember, and no one could remember how or why it started. The two tribes lived in two different castles at two different ends of the island. They lived totally different lives, with different clothes, different food and different houses. They even had different religions and cultures. They just could not agree about anything.

One day, a remarkable thing happened; there was a huge earthquake and the island split in two. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt but the two tribes were separated more than ever. Over the next few weeks, The Ficts and The Facts both started to notice strange things happening. The Ficts noticed that there seemed to be less wild boar for them to hunt for food and the Facts noticed there was less wild deer for them to hunt for food. This caused the Kings of both tribes to worry as their tribes would starve if they could not hunt.

The King of The Ficts worked out that the boars had lost their foraging ground that was on The Facts island so were starving and the King of The Facts worked out that the deer had lost their grazing ground that was on The Ficts island. The King of The Ficts at first thought that the Facts had caused the earthquake, and the King of The Facts thought the Ficts had. They both then realised that they had made a mistake and that it had just been an accident.

They both knew what they had to do. The King of The Ficts went the edge of their island and called over to the King of The Facts and told him his plan. The King of The Facts said,

“I know, I was thinking exactly the same thing!”

So, a bridge was built from the island of the Ficts to the island of the Facts and a bridge was built from the island Facts to the island of The Ficts. And the boar and the deer were free to roam and eat as much as they wanted.

But something else happened, The King of The Ficts and The King of the Facts had worked together, and then became friends. And the two tribes became friends; they stopped warring, and they traded together, and ate together and prayed together. They traded skills and the people were wealthier, and they swapped stories to tell their children.

And their children played together, and sometimes fought.

Daisy Chain

Life is beginning its steady flip, moving sunny side up.
Its slow motion somersault is in the air in the kitchen, the hall, the park.
It glitters in the eyes of a stranger, and is felt in the squeeze from a friend.

In the rooms of my mind, flooring is being laid down, piece by piece,
By the healing architect of Time. It is level, firm, flush, fitted wall to wall,
No gaps – my feelings and thinking are joining up, finally.

A willingness to take part again in my own life once more
Chirps from the beaks of sparrows, beeps from the horns of traffic,
And rustles amid the boughs of trees.

I taste it on my tongue, touch it in my hair, and hear it in my voice.
It filters through the ether into my nostrils,
Into the pores of my fingertips, and the soles of my feet.
Maybe, one day soon, I will walk barefoot on the grass again,
And not be troubled by crushing the daisies underfoot.

Anon, Inspired By My Experiences Of Recovery From Depression

Weary of Sailing

We are similar, you and I
Washed up on the waving shore of our lives,
Pock-marked and cast out on the current.
Skin the colour of old lace:
Cream white, coral white
White, warm-yellowed.

Your fibrous, sinewy surface
Not unlike my tendons, viewed under a microscope.
All this connective tissue despite no felt connection.

Life has given you, too,
Rough, uneven edges
Hard to touch.
The high tides have marked us both:
Bold, curved brown-red stripe –
A Rothko on you.
Lines as deep as veins –
Clefted valleys for me.
Yet you are also cool,
Onyx-black smooth

In the dent of my palm.
Just like my heart,
When the moon fails
To pull the tides in me onward
And I am weary of sailing.

With thanks to the 4Winds/DICE creative writing group