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I Know I Am Safe Here - 2020 Digital Mixed Media Collage 

An exploration of connecting with nature through creativity to enhance wellbeing   

“I know I am safe here” were words entrusted to me by a lady, proud to be in her nineties, living with dementia. Together we created paper daisies, her favourite flowers, as part of a participatory arts workshop I was facilitating. At the outset she had said she was “very frightened” but while making daisies she was able to feel safe. The floral theme had helped her to manage her fears and enjoy her treasured memories of nature. Created from photographs taken of plants grown in my own tiny garden, this collage is a celebration of this truly inspirational experience.

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There was something incredibly poignant about these words coming to life as my tiny cress seeds grew during a pandemic, taking on extra meaning as I made this collage during the first COVID-19 lockdown. I started this project exploring the creative connection between nature and wellbeing in a hospital setting and discovered the joy of quite literally watching my own garden grow. At a time when I too was experiencing the pain of separation from loved ones, the comfort I took in observing a single peony bud, blossom and bloom will be my enduring memory of the summer of 2020.  

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I was absolutely delighted and honoured to discover that I Know I Am Safe Here was selected as one of three winners of the prestigious Grange Commission, and will be on permanent exhibition at the Grange Hospital in Newport from March 2021.