Zoe Watson is a GP who has set up a business called Make and Create. She set up this venture to encourage people everywhere to give creativity a go. The business is based around Creative Project Boxes which are specifically aimed at people who have mental health struggles or anyone who is facing stress, anxiety or confidence challenges. The projects are designed to be like ‘meditation for the hands’- aimed at both adults and children, they encourage participants to use creativity as a tool to manage stress and anxiety by empowering the individual to try something new.
The format is a mixture of activity workshops and creative project kits that you complete at home, such as making wall hangings, hexagon jewellery, kids felt mask making, DIY unicorns. It’s ‘creativity in a box’. As adults, desire or confidence to be creative is often lost. Zoe’s approach is creating space for yourself and ‘just do it, you don’t have to be a ‘natural’, put some time aside for you and focus on what you’re doing, and it will make you feel better mentally. Zoe believes that across the board, there are huge gaps in the NHS offering for mental health treatment from going away with a few sessions with a counsellor or access to an app to being sectioned or admitted to hospital.
Many people end up at the GP surgery, placed on a medicine or a treatment pathway when perhaps there are other options or a combined supportive holistic pathway. We need to think laterally, what else we can do? Social prescribing is something Zoe would like to see more of to address the gap in mental health patient’s management.
Zoe also runs Kintsugi Healing evenings. Kintsugi (the art of repairing broken ceramics with gold) is rooted in the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi – which encourages us to embrace imperfection. Zoe feels this is particularly relevant in today’s society, where the ‘Selfie generation’ has led to body image issues and people striving to be ‘perfect’ all the time. In the workshop, Zoe guides the group through the breaking and repairing of a ceramic bowl with gold powder and glue. This serves as a tangible metaphor for human resilience and recovery from trauma, encouraging the participant to be proud of their imperfections and to “highlight them in gold”
Zoe hosted a Make and Create extravaganza, part of the E17 art trail and Creativity and Wellbeing Week 2019