Category: sick! exhibition

Sick! Free Creative Workshops

Following a recent successful exhibition and arts project in Medway, the Sick! Living With Invisible Illness team is running a further series of free creative workshops to support local people.

Four sessions are on offer at INTRA, looking at different ways to create DIY publications and explore self-expression. The workshops will include combinations of therapeutic writing, making zines, printmaking, drawing and bookbinding.


Taking place during December 2017 and January 2018, a time of year that people with invisible illness can find difficult, these workshops offer a non-festive oasis and a supportive, uplifting space to explore self-reflection and creative skills. No mince pies or carols will be in evidence, but there will be a friendly welcome, snacks and refreshments.

Morning sessions will be ticketed classes lasting two hours, and each one will be followed by a three hour drop-in creative session in the afternoon. You don’t need to have attended previous days, each class and drop-in session is a separate event and you are welcome to attend as many or few as you like.

The workshops are open to Medway residents 16+ years old who are affected by invisible illness – those with illnesses themselves, but also carers, partners, friends or family etc. living in the Medway towns. The sessions are offered free thanks to a small grant from Involving Medway, as part of Medway Clinical Commissioning Group’s work with community health.

No previous experience of the activities is needed, they are supportive sessions for you to self-reflect and try out creative techniques as a way to cope with, heal from, or understand your situation in a different way. Participating may lead to communicating your feelings to other people, or may become useful tools to use privately for self care.

Workshop Dates & Times

Sun 17th Dec – Therapeutic writing class (booking essential)
Sun 17th Dec  – Make zines with writing, stories and messages (drop-in)

Sat 30th Dec – Printmaking for zines class (booking essential)
Sat 30th Dec – Make zines with printmaking and writing (drop-in)

Sun 7th Jan – Experiment with drawing class (booking essential)
Sun 7th Jan – Make zines & artist’s books, with drawing & printmaking (drop-in)

Sun 21st Jan – Simple bookbinding class (booking essential)
Sun 21st Jan – Make zines & artist’s books, with bookbinding & printmaking (drop-in)

The ticketed classes run 11:00-13:00
Drop-in sessions run 14:00-17:00

INTRA, 337 – 341 High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1DA

Booking for the classes
Details for the drop-in sessions

Therapeutic Writing Class

A workshop for people who want to begin telling their stories and exploring healing through writing. In two hours, creative writing teacher Sam Fentiman-Hall will guide you using simple exercises to help you begin expressing yourself. You can write about whatever you like in the workshop, without having to share it with anyone else in the group.

Printmaking For Zines Class

Some zine makers use photocopiers or ink-jet printers to make their copies, but this can be expensive. In this class you can try out some of the best techniques to bring hand-printed and colourful elements to self-published booklets, while managing to keep costs down and production numbers up. Simple relief printing methods, the Risograph machine, and screen printing will be explored as means for making DIY publications. Our collection of hand printed zines and artists books will be shared for inspiration.

Experiment With Drawing Class

A workshop for people who want to try using drawing and collage to express ideas and stories in visual ways. Drawing can seem daunting and many people think they’re not good at it. Creative exercises can be lots of fun though, and this class will get you drawing with a number of surprising approaches. We’ll look at making all kinds of marks, expressing a feeling in different graphical ways, loosening up your hand and exploring styles of your own. We’ll use a variety of drawing tools, and you can spend time using the ones that you like best to develop your ideas.

Simple Bookbinding Class

There are many ways of binding self-made publications, from simple stapled zines, to intricately bound artists’ books. We’ll study examples of different bindings, then try out simple sewn pamphlets, accordion, hardcovers, or experimental approaches to bind a book using decorated and plain papers, or your own content.

Sick! Talks

We had two excellent speakers come and give talks during the exhibition. The first was by Kyra De Coninck on the secret world of Fascia and the role it plays in invisible illness, then Shell Lawes talking about her experience with Ostomy and body confidence. Enjoy!


Kyra De Coninck:



Shell Lawes:

Exhibition Tours :)

We gave the KAB (Kent Association for the Blind) a guided tour of the exhibition last week and then did a tour via facebook live for anyone that had been unable to attend the exhibition in person. We had a really great day and wanted to share some images from the KAB event with you as well as the facebook live video for anyone interested in seeing it.

SICK-KABtour-20170808-6563 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6568 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6569 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6570 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6571 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6580 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6584 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6588 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6591 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6597 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6603 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6609 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6612 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6615 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6621 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6625 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6627 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6628 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6634 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6638 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6639 SICK-KABtour-20170808-6641

Sick! exhibition images

So, after a lot of hard work the Sick! exhibition is alive and kicking!! The opening night was a raging success, we can’t thank everyone who came enough – what a night! We had about 300 people in the gallery, really taking in the work and discussing what it meant to them which was SO rewarding to see. The paiñata was defiantly smashed to great cheers of delight from the crowd in what felt like some magnificent pagan ritual.

The exhibition has been featured in the press and on the tv and the support we have had from everyone in person and on social media has been overwhelming. So much love and encouragement – THANK YOU ALL 

Here are some photos taken by our very own Rikard Österlund for you to enjoy….

The beautiful sculptural remains of the smashed Paiñata
Gallery installation
The Sick! Reading Corner (with work by Rosemarie Foad)
Gallery installation (featuring work by Rosie Melville and Eleanor Kerr-Patton)
The free Sick! magazine created by Danielle Wright and Rikard Österlund
‘Rupture’ by Xtina Lamb
Gallery Installation (work by Zara Carpenter, Matt Bray and Alison Blackburn)
The Paiñata and work by Jemimah Dean
Eleanor Kerr-Patton
‘Burdened’ by Zara Carpenter and Matt Bray
Pigeon wings, jute thread and burnt PIP assessment forms!
Heads on diseased oak by Matt Bray and Adam Newton
“Look I’m wearing all the colours” by Rikard Österlund
Bookshelves of zines in the reading corner :)

Why make zines? “They’re fun as heck” says Rau

Rosemarie Foad a.k.a. Rau is an illustrator who came along to our creative writing and zine making workshops, and has ended up contributing to our publication and showing as part of the exhibition because we love her work and spirit!

how old are you and how long have you been making illustrations? 

I’m twenty-four years old; and I’ve been illustrating since I was about fifteen or sixteen, but art-ing for most of my life. 

what training have you had or are you self taught? 

I’ve done a foundation diploma in art and design, and a bachelor’s degree in illustration; but I’m still learning! 

which artists/illustrators influence you most? 

The Art Brut movement. I’m enamoured with the naïve visualistic style. These guys have no formal art training, so they’re not hindered by artistic ‘conventions’ or bothered by the ‘right way to do something’. They’re totally free to create art however they want. As Picasso said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” Ergo, I’m trying to free up my artwork to become more fluid, raw and expressive. 

why do you make art? 

Two reasons. Firstly, there’s the ‘Bread Art’, art that isn’t for me, that brings in the pennies so I can buy tobacco and bread. Second there’s the artwork that I’m just driven to create, where I am art, and art is me. It’s so natural and intuitive that I can’t help but create. It’s a healthy coping mechanism, and a release of pent up thoughts and ideas.  

do you work mostly to commission or just make your own stuff? 

I’m not too sure yet if I want to work in the freelance business. I think that would be too restricting. I’d rather just create to feel good.  

what is your work about? 

Really, I have no idea! It’s a bit of a mess, like me, with no set direction or path. Usually just whatever’s in my head. 


what made you first take your art seriously? 

I think I went through a period of about five minutes at university where I took my art seriously. Mostly I try and keep the art-vibe free and loose.  

why illustration? 

One of my tutors suggested I do it as a degree; so I did a foundation course to try it out and see if it was for me and it seemed to suit. I like the combination of word and picture. I am a writer and storyteller as well, so illustration is the perfect amalgamation of the two.  

which mediums or materials do you like best? 

Anything. Literally. I’m veering towards more organic materials for the Bread Art at the moment, making my own paintbrushes and pigments out of found sticks and chunks of clay or mud. But for illustration I have to say that I am particularly fond of printmaking; I am very tactile so textures and printing appeal to me. I like to make stamps from foam or erasers, and small linocuts and monoprints too. I’d like to be able to work in riso and screenprint more than I have though.   

have you exhibited your work? if so where and with who? 

I’ve had the standard ‘final shows’ during the foundation course and university; but I’ve also had the opportunity to exhibit in the Bishop of Rochester’s garden, which was fun. I’ve also attended Leeds Comics and Arts Festival: Thought Bubble, and had a couple of zines on sale there.  

do you make your work for an audience? 

Mostly I make whatever I want to make. With the Bread Art it’s difficult to wrap my head around making art that isn’t for me. But with a lot of my works my target audience tends to be people already imbedded in some way or another with the art-world; or creative people with mental health problems. 

if so what do you want them to get from it? 

I would like people to draw whatever conclusions they may, and to talk about it. I want people to be connected with my work, not just see it in a gallery and then move on. That’s why I like tactile mediums like print and 3D work as it gives a chance for greater and more immersive interaction.  

why do you make zines? 

They’re fun as heck! I enjoy book-binding in itself. But you can’t beat collecting old postcards, beermats, old tobacco tins, scraps of paper or signage and shoving it all together and drawing all over it. Also, photocopied zines are awesome, there’s something so simplistic and real about running off a few dozen copies of your zine on a beat-up copy machine in the back of a newsagents or library.    

do you collect other peoples art? if so who? 

I would hesitate to say ‘collect’ but I certainly hoard a whole load of visual paraphernalia. I can’t walk into a store or museum without rummaging in their free leaflet collection and picking out all the cool-looking ones. I tend to pick up lots of random shit like train stubs and bits of old posters that have fallen off a lamppost too; anything visually interesting. With regards to particular artists, I’ve got a whole world of books and the internet for that. 

describe your studio practice, rituals, routines etc. 

I’m afraid I haven’t got much of a set studio practice as mental health tends to intervene at sporadic intervals. I begin the day by rolling a cigarette and making a coffee and going to sit in the backyard to suss out the day; once I’ve worked out where my mood is, I try to get inspired. I can’t really focus for very long so I have to use the ‘pomodoro’ technique otherwise I’d never get anything done. There’s not much routine, if any. I’m consistently inconsistent.  

is art important? if so why?

Very much so, I wouldn’t exist without it. Art is everywhere, in everyone and everything. I believe it’s as important for your emotional and mental wellbeing to be creative as it is to get regular exercise.  


To see more work go to Rosemarie’s website:

FREE Sick! Workshops coming up

This info is also on the events page FYI 🙂

Therapeutic Writing Workshop


A workshop for people who want to begin telling their stories and exploring healing through writing.This short, but insightful workshop is led by creative writing teacher Emelie Hill Dittmer. As an introduction, we will familiarise you with the first three steps in a process developed by the acclaimed Write Your Self ( movement. The workshop is repeated though the day, please choose just one of the three session times available.


Zine Workshop


A workshop for those affected by invisible illnesses – guiding you to express yourself through words, images or collage to create a collaborative zine on this theme. Led by artist and printmaker Xtina Lamb, your contributions will be compiled into a small DIY publication – a ‘zine’, to be printed on INTRA’s Risograph machine. The zine will be available free to visitors of the Sick! exhibition at Sun Pier House in Chatham, Kent in August.

We’ll supply collage materials, typewriters (old school!), drawing supplies, glue, and will have lots of ideas to get you thinking about the ways you could contribute to the zine. Bring along any extra materials you’d particularly like to use to create the pages, or if you have sketchbooks or notebooks of writing – those would be great for the workshop too. But you don’t need to be a fantastic artist or an accomplished poet to take part, if you have experiences of invisible illness (either from your own ill health or those close to you), we would love to include your contributions.

Please choose the morning or afternoon session.




Piñata Workshop


Help to create a large piñata, decorate the outside to represent the challenges of living with invisible illness and make colourful, positive, fun messages of love and hope to fill it with. The piñata will be on display in the windows of INTRA in the run up to the Sick! Living with Invisible Illness exhibition, and smashed open in an act of defiance for the launch event. Hit out against the difficulties of living with invisible illness and be showered with positivity in return.

This is an all day workshop and you can just drop in throughout the day, but if you would like to reserve a place please choose an arrival time.