Creative Learning: Student Profiles

Published on 31st October 2019
Published 31 October 2019

Our Creative Learning courses and workshops are available for all. Whether you want to try a new creative skill, enhance an existing talent or meet new people, join our talented tutors in a friendly environment and watch your creativity grow.

Don’t just take our word for it, below are some wonderful interviews with past students relaying how our creative courses have helped and inspired them.

Want to join one of our Creative Learning courses yourself? Click here to view our new season of courses!

Christopher Leahy:

My name is Christopher Leahy and I am a twenty-three year old graduate with a degree in English Literature with Creative Writing. I am an aspiring writer, based here in the Lake District and I write poetry and short stories.

Whilst my writing skills improved over the three years of my degree, I felt that there was still room for improvement, so I decided to take a year out to gain more life experience and to continue writing. I found the Writer’s Toolbox course on the Brewery website and I was interested, because of the chance to be taught by a practising author and to get critical feedback on my work from other local writers. I thought that this would be a good way to improve my writing skills and to find my writer’s voice.

Going to the weekly workshops and having my work being heard and critiqued by Janni and the others, has been a great help to me and a really enjoyable experience. It has been interesting to see and hear what other writers write about and be exposed to their work. There were some very interesting writers on this course and it has been fun to bounce ideas off one another.

Janni introduced me to Ted Hughes’ Crow anthology and that inspired some of my own poetry. She had us do weekly writing exercises and would suggest a few subjects or themes and then we would have to write a piece of poetry or prose. It was interesting to see how different writers approached the same topic. I feel that the quality of my writing has improved and am more confident in my abilities. Overall, doing the Writer’s Toolbox has been a thoroughly rewarding experience.

If you are interested in joining the Writer’s Toolbox, be prepared to try new things, to be taken out of your comfort zone and to have your work critiqued. Above all else have fun, have a great time and write what you want to write. Do take note of any comments from your tutor and classmates, this way you will get more out of the course.

Chris student

Christine Coffey

My name is Christine Coffey and I moved to Kendal about 18 months ago from Scotland, though I’m originally from Yorkshire; and I’ve just started the Relief and Intaglio Printmaking weekly course on a Tuesday morning with artist tutor Penny Hunt.  During the summer I tried one of the printmaking taster sessions at the Brewery with Penny where we tried lino printing and made our own postcards. It was inspiring and re-ignited an interest in the arts. It gave me the feeling that I wanted to do more. When I went back to the Brewery to collect my prints, I didn’t want to leave the print room, it has such a lovely atmosphere with everyone working and creating exciting work. I wanted to roll my sleeves up then and there and get stuck in! There were so many courses I would like to do, and I chose to continue exploring printmaking as I had enjoyed it so much.

The course helped me develop personally as a year ago I had a stroke and life became more difficult. Even after one session doing something creative at the Brewery reminded me of what I enjoyed. I realised that I had only been identifying as a ‘stroke survivor’ and this session really helped me see beyond that. I sent the postcards I made to my stroke co-ordinator Sally and Stroke Association volunteer Catriona and they were amazed at my improvements. Catriona commented that “Christine and I feel the experience was not only stimulating, but increased her confidence too. Life After Stroke can be challenging for many reasons. Christine was very grateful for the patience and support shown during the course.” I have even found physical improvements in my health. Sally came to check my blood pressure at the Brewery after my first session on the course as we knew it would be lower than usual readings.

I recommend that other people take a course at the Brewery as everyone is really friendly, caring and understanding. The classes are small, and Penny is so patient and supportive. Penny suggests ways of working and you have the freedom to try out your own ideas. You get to use the great facilities with the help of an expert.

The advice I’d give to anyone thinking of taking a course is do a taster session, come and try something new- and if you’re like me you’ll find the urge to become creative takes over! I’ve now got a bit of pride back in myself, and that feels great.

Christine student


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