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Karen Johnson


The Skill Share is a group to bring arts to the community, and try and get people – like me – that don’t usually do arts-based things to have a go. I was working in a school, and a lady that I worked with was doing the group already; she convinced me to go along to one. I went along and I really enjoyed it – kept going after that, and then she asked me to help with the children’s crafts. So I tried it loved it. I think I did the whole of last summer and it went from there. What I’d really like to do is eventually have my own Skill Shares in other areas, so that I could run my own group and we can spread it out a bit further. 

Before, I would have said: can’t do that, I’m not arty, I’m not crafty. But I found that I was quite good at it, and it shocked me. I’ve learnt crochet, we’ve done mosaicing, decoupage, sewing. When I first started, I looked at a sewing machine and it terrified me, now I’ve got my own at home. 

It’s had massive, massive impact on my life. I was volunteering in a school before; I was doing the same things; I was stuck in a rut. I started this and my confidence just went sky high. Normally I’d be quite shy and introverted, but I was socialising with new people which I hadn’t done before. I have bi-polar disorder and I’ve been able to stop some medication because I’ve been the most stable I’ve ever been in my life. I’m in a new relationship and I actually met my partner at the craft group! It really has massively changed my life, definitely for the better – I can see it going somewhere now.

Photo: Stephen King