Teapot Trust is a UK charity providing a nationwide art therapy and creative interventions programme for chronically ill children in hospitals and hospices.
Our work aims to build resilience in children with chronic illnesses by encouraging them to express emotions, mentally overcome the challenges linked to their condition and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Participating in art therapy can contribute to positive mental health, provide peer interaction and a sense of community in the hospital environment and introduce new skills.
One of the models of art therapy we provide is Open Group art therapy which is where there is an art table set up in a hospitals outpatient department and any child attending a clinic and their siblings are free to sit down and paint, draw or model clay and engage with an art therapist if they wish. This model can help reduce a child’s boredom when waiting on appointments and lessen anxiety they may feel regarding medical procedures.
When we recently exhibited at the Kidz to Adultz Scotland event for the first time, we kept this in mind and we decided to set up our table with a whole range of different art materials which any of the children attending would be free to use if they wished. One of the aims of the Teapot Trust is to provide children with opportunities to be seen as individuals rather than the focus being on their illness or disability. And at the Kidz to Adultz Scotland event, we wanted them to have a chance to let their creative juices flow!
Tea cups and pirate maps
We brought along loads of tea bags so the children could make something a little different than what they may do at home. We made pirate maps, tea cups and splattered the tea bags onto paper and created patterns from the shape that was made! Children and young people of all ages seemed to love getting stuck in and soon there was glitter everywhere! We noticed that it was a great way for children to work with their parents/carers to create something fun together and that some siblings used the opportunity to discuss their brother or sister’s disability.
Aside from creating beautiful pictures with the children, it was also a good opportunity for Teapot Trust staff to talk about what we do with people who may not be familiar with the charity. This year, we piloted a number of creative workshops outside of hospital space and this event was a great way to spread the word about these. A number of people we spoke to, relished the opportunity to learn more about art therapy and how it can be used in different ways depending on the child’s individual needs.