"trains prisoners in paid, skilled, creative needlework undertaken in the long hours spent in their cells to foster hope, discipline and self esteem. This helps them to connect to society and to leave prison with the confidence and financial means to stop offending."
Several years ago, I worked as a volunteer in "B" Prison Visitors' Centre, via another charity called PACT - the Prison Advice and Care Trust. While I was there, I also attended a couple of art classes within the prison, run by a rather wonderful and enlightened teacher.
And having now discovered the calm industry and satisfaction of cross-stitching (see my step-by-step tapestry developing!) the very real and practical benefits of these quiet disciplines are clear. Following a pattern brings with it a kind of security; it forces a focus that leaves little room for other thoughts as you become totally "in the moment". But you're also creating something tangable and real and lovely.
|My mother, looking pensive|
Which confirms yet again, the place that art, in all its shapes and forms, has within all parts of society; not simply as something that can be beautiful or evokative or thought-prevoking, but something that is absolutely necessary if we are to survive and thrive.