I have been attending Orb’s Wednesday morning Art group for a few months now, thanks to the support of Carolyn (one of Orb’s Action Towards Inclusion key workers) and the funding ATI have provided to help those who are currently unemployed, learn new skills and meet new people.

With the help of Sharon (our art tutor) and Nicci (volunteer), we have tried our hands at many different types of art forms recently – from watercolour painting and charcoal drawings, to even going back to basics and drawing using our opposite hand (in my case, my left hand instead of my right)!  It has been fun going in each week to learn something new.


These past couple of weeks we have been getting to grips with the art of printing.

To start off with, we had to come up with a design that was simple, yet had many interesting patterns that would look good on paper. Books of carpet and wallpaper samples were full of inspirations for intricate designs; I took my inspiration from the patterns in a mindfulness colouring book.

We were all given a printing sheet to mark our designs onto after we had drafted them out on paper. The printing sheet reminded me of the blocks of polystyrene you get in delivery parcels and I found it extremely satisfying to carve out the patterns onto it using pencils, hair grips and other things that could help leave an indentation without ripping the sheet. They say art can be a good stress reliever, and I’d definitely recommend this as a way to calm pent up frustration!

One thing to remember though, anything you carve onto the printing sheet will be a mirror image when it is printed. I learnt that the hard way. Writing the word ‘love’ on my printing sheet wasn’t such a good idea after all!

When we had finished, it was time to get rolling. You moved the roller covered in ink all over your printing sheet, then covered the sheet with newsprint (very thin, shiny paper). Then using a clean roller to press down on top of the newsprint to make sure every corner of the printing sheet had been touched by the paper. Et voila! You slowly peel back the newsprint paper to reveal your very own print!

Here is my attempt:

Some members of the group also came up with the great idea of adding an extra colour to certain parts of the printing sheet to make them stand out. I had a go at this myself and here is the result:


I found these printing sessions really enjoyable and it was fun to experiment with different colours and carving out different patterns.

Through taking part in the art classes, I have been able to embrace my creative side a bit more and it has taught me to perhaps not worry so much about the end result or strive for perfection, but instead to enjoy the whole process of creating something new and over time you will realise how far you’ve come and improved!


If you fancy coming along and finding out more about Orb’s art classes, please speak to Elizabeth for more details. The Wednesday morning art group is from 10:30am to 12:30pm. There is also an evening class on a Thursday from 6:30 – 8.30pm.


By Charlotte Claydon