Sonia Burn is a self-taught artist with a particular talent for sharing her enjoyment of creating beautiful and interesting works. Recently she has been sharing that enjoyment by encouraging hospice patients to get involved with creating decorative plaques to add to a commemorative piece of wall art for Butterwick Hospice in Bishop Auckland where Sonia volunteers regularly as the Hospice receptionist. Working with Hospice patients came about after a conversation about the many lovely artworks that adorn the walls of the Hospice in Woodhouse Lane, Bishop Auckland, most of them created by previous patients. Sonia admitted to being a keen artist herself and was then encouraged to bring a portfolio of her work in to share with staff and patients. People were so impressed with her work that she decided to donate several pieces for the Hospice to sell to raise funds. These now sit proudly in the glass display cabinet in the reception area of the Hospice.

Lead Nurse at the Hospice, Anne Marwood, explained to Sonia that Butterwick has often worked with local artists to create occupational therapies for patients and asked if Sonia would be willing to help people get creative. Sonia admitted she loved to do this and already helps out in this capacity at the Pioneer Care Centre in Newton Aycliffe where she runs an Art Therapy Group. Sonia accepted Anne’s invitation and the resulting artwork has created much enjoyment, laughter and conversation. Sonia has worked with patients in the Wednesday and Friday Day Hospice groups and we caught up with some of them for their thoughts on the process of creating something they initially didn’t think they could do.

Maureen Simpson told us: “We had such a good laugh working on this together.”
Olwen Wild added: “We were a bit dubious at first as none of us are artistic but once Sonia showed us what to do we just had a go and really loved it. I managed to create more than one tile”
Barbara Dobson said: “It’s magic – very therapeutic and absorbing.”

Sonia is delighted with the reaction from the patients and has really enjoyed working with them. She said: “I think they have all been pleasantly surprised by what they have achieved. They are all now looking forward to creating something else together, so I’m planning the next project which will be very different in style.” “I’m delighted that people have got so much fun and laughter out of creating this wall art which commemorates the date the Butterwick Hospice opened. It has grown out of a canvas, some paint and some squares of MDF and a great bunch of people who were prepared to have a go. It has developed a lot of good times for people who thought they couldn’t ‘do art’ but they have realised that together they could create something very special.”

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