Artist in residence

Rachael Causer is the artist in residence at the Tavistock Centre.

Her work explores what is often overlooked – the detritus that is scattered and swept along in a large city such as London. 

She collects objects found on pavements and in empty supermarket trolleys – lists, dropped baby shoes, lost gloves and post-it notes. She creates curious taxonomies of objects and is fascinated by piecing together stories and cataloguing the evidence of what we discard, and blogs about her experience as our Artist in Residence.


The Repair Project

The Repair Project is an art project at the Tavistock Centre led by artist in residence, Rachael Causer. 

The Repair Project explores creative ways of mending and the reasons we might choose to mend rather than throw away. In exploring stories behind the worn out garments and objects we choose to patch, darn and fix, the project hopes to create an archive of ‘mended things’.

The Repair Project logo

The act of mending

On a more serious note, the act of mending itself is interesting. While sewing, the repetition and slow nature of stitching is mindful, giving us space to think and time to slow down. It supports our wellbeing, calming and creating time for reflection as well as providing visual, tactile and emotional stimulation. It is proven to support pain or anxiety management and encourages repetitive, co-ordinated, bi-lateral movement.

Kelly Lambert, neuroscientist and author of Lifting Depression, said: 

“When you knit a sweater or plant a garden, when you prepare a meal or simply repair a lamp, you are bathing your brain in feel-good chemicals and creating a kind of mental vitamin”. 

She talks about the benefits to our emotional health of purposeful tasks and work with our hands. 

The Repair Project aims to explore the benefits of working creatively with our hands and to understand more about what we mean by ‘repair’. 

Mending workshops

Mending workshops are held every Wednesday, 2-4pm, throughout June 2016 at the Tavistock Centre. Please bring items to mend. Everyone very welcome!

For more information email taviartproject@gmail.com.

Artist in residence: sock repair

Mental Health Awareness Week

During Mental Health Awareness Week (16 to 22 May 2016) Rachael ran workshops in the spirit of the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi that advocates embracing and celebrating all things imperfect. We held our first mending workshop, a friendly and informal drop-in session, where service users, staff and visitors learned to patch and darn old and much-loved clothes creatively over tea and cake. 

We also held a workshop with children and young people in south Camden exploring the traditional Japanese art of Kintsukuroi, where cracks in pottery are beautifully repaired with gold as a celebration of resilience. Our workshop had one small difference however – we were mending biscuits!

Mending workshop biscuits

FOUND Project

Towards the end of 2015 artist in residence, Rachael Causer, worked with service users, staff and visitors to the Tavistock Centre on a series of workshops that responded to the theme ‘Found’. The project explored the meaning of things to be 'found' in the process of seeking help from the Tavistock, piecing together stories and experiences, feelings and emotions. 

The FOUND exhibition, which ran from May to June 2016, powerfully conveyed messages from service users about what they 'found' while coming to the Tavistock. Some messages were positive and hopeful, while others commented on lives that are not easy.

This exhibition included both the work made in these sessions alongside embroideries created by Rachael Causer that reflected on her residency and a series of large photographic interpretations of textile based work, produced in collaboration with Andy Wiener.

FOUND project time

Art at the Tavistock and Portman

Wander around the hallways of the Tavistock Centre and you will see works of art hanging along every corridor and bold stabs of colour in our...

Rachael Causer

Rachael blogs about her experience as artist in residence at http://tavi-art.blogspot.co.uk/

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