I have first-hand experience of going through an abusive relationship, and for survivors of domestic abuse it doesn’t end with simply the hurt of what we’ve been through. It’s a whole experience, of having to go through the system, trying to find justice and failing to do so because of something as minor as a technicality.

It’s about the lack of support you receive, the isolation and the burden of carrying this weight alone. Eventually, it all adds up to paint a bleak picture of vulnerable people who are being overlooked and neglected by the systems that should be there to support them.

The more I went through it, the more I started meeting women who’d been through similar experiences, and the more I realized there was a need for something else. Something that can help us claim back the light and joy in our lives, something that helps us to realize we don’t have to go through this alone, and that we can build our own support systems in place of those that fail us now.

This where the classes I provide come in. The inspiration for these classes was very much driven by my own experience with my art and the creative process. I came to the realization that in order to support my family, I had to persevere and carry on with my work as a self-employed artist. At the time, this was the last thing I wanted to do, but looking back I can appreciate how much having that space for creativity and selfhood meant to me.

Because of this, I was able to share my art, to run my own studio and classes all whilst fitting my timetable around my children. It was then I realized that I could share this space with other women who’d been through the same experiences, giving them something that could help enrich their lives in the same way it had mine.

The classes I’m running now are all about providing a space for something that may not exist in their lives, a space that is centred around positivity, creativity, and enjoyment. I want these classes to be a positive space, one where we have fun, and the women get to explore a new side to themselves. Even the act of simply creating something, that sense of achievement and self-worth, can be a tremendous boost.

Most importantly, it takes you away from that bubble of isolation that we often find ourselves in after everything we’ve been through. Shedding that sense of alienation and finding community and togetherness is extremely important to me.

This project has been nearly 2 years in the making for me, and as much as it’s been my life and passion, I couldn’t have done it without also having the support of so many fantastic women I’ve had the privilege to meet in this journey, from the people at Women’s Aid who’ve provided support and encouragement, or the many artists and individuals who’ve assisted me. When it comes to community, it takes a village, and I’m so lucky to be able to share in that and bring it to others who need it.