'I likened it to therapy' - Ipswich carers find outlet in art

Alyson Austin in front of her work at the Hold, Ipswich. 

Alyson Austin in front of her work at the Hold, Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

Carers who have felt "trapped, in grief and lonely" have found an outlet at an art project in Ipswich. 

Oyster Community Press held a printmaking workshop through tough times for five carers who faced illness, hospitalisation, bereavement and disruption to services and school. 

Their work is now on display at the Hold by the Waterfront.

Alyson Austin, who cares for her husband that has Borderline Personality Disorder, made a bird print: "I was trying to explain how it feels. 

"It feels like being trapped. You see scenery that you can't get to.

More of Alyson Austin's work

More of Alyson Austin's work - Credit: Archant

"My husband has always had bad mental health but over the last 14 months, it's been worse so it's been a very difficult year. 

"It was an amazing experience as I likened it to therapy and you're mixing with people caring for different types of illnesses. 

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"Knowing you have that every week and it's a safe place and you don't worry about anything else for the time you're in there. 

"You're focussing so hard and not thinking about anything else and it's benefitted my mental health."

Gabriella Kantor

Gabriella Kantor used to be a geologist so explored geometric patterns. - Credit: Archant

Another artist Gabriella Kantor is carer of her autistic son who has pathological demand avoidance.

She said: "My son always says no. 

"If you say it slowly but to do something unexpected or new it doesn't work for him. 

"You can't plan and you can't gear up your life for that but it's hard.

"The last two years he doesn't like to go anywhere so for him it was nice.

"For my daughter, she's 'normal' so it was difficult for her and her speech and social skills are now low. 

"The carers [at the art class] understand me as they have been through the same emotional stage.

"It was just lovely to relax and your brain can just switch off."

Tina Garrett explored the grief of losing both her parents.

Tina Garrett explored the grief of losing both her parents. - Credit: Archant

Tina Garrett, who lost both her parents that she had been caring for, explained her art was a vehicle for showing how her dad and mum loomed large in her life. 

She shows her dad as the cliff in the background and her mum to the front, who she lost during the course, while Mrs Garrett sees herself running on the beach in the very front. 

"When she did die I thought I couldn't handle this and I thought she's still looming large," she said. 

"It's now got two sides to it and I'm now looking back at it and their sea of memories as I'm cleaning mum's house now.

"It's been amazing being part of this group and it's been hard knowing which bits to cut off and what to do."

Another work at the Hold, Ipswich

Another work at the Hold, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

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