Now, you’ve heard me banging on before, probably ad nauseum, about how CREATIVITY HEALS.
Now here is the proof.
GalGael is a charity which teaches people in difficulty ancient skills such as carving, boat-building, spinning and weaving, and by doing so, gives them a chance of a new start in life.
“We provide a space that serves as something of a safe harbour for those whose lives have been battered by storms such as worklessness, depression or addiction. “
So says their website, and I have seen the proof.
GalGael is supported by the whisky distillery Lagavulin on Islay, where we recently had our holiday, and I met some of the craftsmen and women they have trained there. Producing beautiful carvings in the ancient styles of the Norse and Celtic races whose cultures come together in native Scottish arts, these men and women are making gorgeous, tactile and useful works of art, working with natural materials, getting in touch with their national cultural history, and and crafting new lives for themselves in the process. Lagavulin supplies old wood from nolonger wanted casks, which GalGael make into covetable furniture and home goods. Each item has its own charm and idiosyncracies, both from the craftsman who made it, and from the varied history of the wood itself.
I had the privilege of chatting at great length with one of GalGael’s fine representatives (pictured above), himself a survivor of the worst storms of life. As we talked about the Celtic and Norse myths that lay behind his carving, and the pleasure of making something with one’s own hands, I learnt a lot about the personal story of this proud man, nolonger bowed by his suffering. He attributed his renewed joy in life and self-respect to what he had learnt at GalGael, and I felt honoured and touched to have met him.
GalGael is living proof that creativity saves lives. I’ve been through a few storms myself, and have learnt through practise that it really works, but nothing brought it home to me like seeing these wonderful people talking so enthusiastically about their work and how it had helped them survive the worst that life can fling.
If you are going through a storm yourself right now, I encourage you to have faith in some act of creation that you can undertake. Make something, however simple. It doesn’t matter if its not any good in your eyes. We all have to start somewhere. Try. Practise. Lose yourself in the flow of making. In the Charm of Making. And it will heal you.
You can learn more about the wonderful work this charity does through their website, where you can also buy their goods and make donations. And you can get more inspiration for your own work from their creativity and their hope.