Focus on photography

It’s understandable, says Sue Margaret that if emotional and/or mental distress is part of our lived experience, to focus on that, but Next Monday, the 20th of June, will be an opportunity to focus on something which might aid our emotional wellbeing.

Focusing on photography is the theme of a five sessions community activity organised by Leeds City Libraries.

‘Focus on Photography’

will take place in Leeds Libraries, Bramley branch, LS13 (see more details on poster below).

The first session which I attended, took place a couple of weeks ago during Mental Health Awareness week (MHAW16). The focus of MHAW16 week was the value of people’s relationships on their all round wellbeing. Few would doubt the value of relationships to wellbeing, whether that relationship is with self or others, and it would be hard to have one without the other.

Having an absorbing hobby is well known to be a useful aid in having a happy relationship with yourself, and having hobbies and interests help many transcend the cares of their everyday life.

The intention of the ‘Focus on Photography’ sessions is to bring local folks together to collaborate on a short photographic project, it will involve discussion and practise.

Participants will be encouraged to bring along any existing photographs they’ve taken, as well as engage in a local field trip.

Getting involved in group activities can be anxiety provoking for many, especially if it’s the first time. Meeting strangers may similarly be nerve wracking. The event  took place at my local library, a place with which I feel ‘at home’ and this helped dispel any reservations I might have had.

It was obvious that the sessions being launched in MHAW16  would include some mention of mental health. A simple quiz about mental health acted as an ice-breaker.The main focus however was on photography and relationships. Nevertheless people did feel comfortable enough to share some of their experiences and observations about mental wellbeing in the community.

Bramley Library is flooded with natural light because not only does it have huge windows but it also has two art deco glass roof domes. These allow our wonderful, ever changing moody English skies, to influence the mood of this particularly, ideal photographic location. The location has  on previous occasions inspired and enabled me to capture some atmospheric shots.


I’ve no particular ambition time or money …..yet! to be more than a phone camera snapper. I do have other digital cameras but they are less convenient. Like many people nowadays my phone is always conveniently to hand.

I’m particularly interested in the results reflected light and reflections in glass add to photographic images so I think I’ll make this my focus…..

‘Reflections on a Summer of Light’

If you are in the area at 5pm on the dates mentioned below look forward to sharing ideas and photographs.

Cheers, Sue


Brushing up Microsoft Office skills in the Library – can be empowering !

Reacquainting myself with Microsoft Word in Headingley Library.

If you are feeling a little bit rusty in the admin department, why not pop down to your local library?  Grab a book from the shelf such as  ‘Word for Dummies,’  or  ‘Teach yourself Excel, ‘ – whatever takes your fancy and work through it using one of the libraries computers.  It’s amazing how much my confidence can be boosted by learning a few practical things and by brushing up skills.

If you’ve been out of work for a while, or working in a role where you didn’t need Microsoft Office skills it may seem daunting and maybe you feel deskilled. Yet within a really short amount of time you can reacquaint yourself or even start from scratch.

Not everyone has Microsoft Office on their home computers,  and not everyone has home computers!  The libraries are a wonderful resource – especially if money is tight.

Check out Leeds Libraries – sometimes you may have to book a computer.

Increasing knowledge and skills can help people feel empowered – if anyone knows any other free and easy ways to up-skill – please share !

Cheers Vicky 🙂

Hearts and Crafts

The Hearts and Crafts exhibition is open until Saturday 29th June in the Exhibition Space next to the Art Library (above the Central Library next to the Town Hall). and is really worth a look. Perhaps the most interesting idea was from the Wetherby Library knitting group, who decided to knit a David Hockney painting of East Yorkshire – ambitious!

Also in the slide show there are Crossgates Library’s crocheted blanket; the Art Library Craft Group’s Tile Quilt and Rag Rug; Armley Library’s Crochet Blanket; Holt Park Library’s Knitted Blanket; Wetherby Library’s Bunting and Quilt (they knitted the bunting for the Jubilee and Olympics in 2012, then made it into a blanket – keep your eye on that Wetherby lot); the Art Library’s Amish Quilt (which was my favourite – dark and moody and very beautiful); and Garforth Library’s ‘Teddies for Tragedies’ and Christmas tree decorations.

The amount and variety of activity going on amazed me. If it interests you to get involved in any of this there are craft workshops at the main Art Gallery – next one on Wednesday 3rd July, 4 p.m. to 7. Call 0113 247 6016 or visit for more info.

If you live in Cross Gates Library the Spin a Yarn group welcomes all knitting abilities, 1.30 to 2.30 every 2nd and 4th Thursday. In Holt Park you can ‘Knit and Natter’ every Wednesday (6.30 to 7.45) or Friday (10.30 to 11.45). The Seacroft Purls (great name) meet at Seacroft Library from 2-3 p.m. every 3rd Wednesday. Contact the main Art Gallery for any of those. If you’re in Horsforth the Craft Club meets at the library there from 2-3 on the last Tuesday of each month, ring 3781872. There was other stuff but my hand started to hurt writing it all down.

If you haven’t been to the library for a while there’s probably quite a lot there to interest you, apart from all this wild knitting and cool craftwork.. There’s another exhibition running at the moment, which I didn’t have time to check out, including some political cartoons from Eastern Europe. You can book free sessions on the internet on one of the library’s roomful of computers, or buy cheap discarded art books from the little room next to the main desk in the Art Library.. I bought a book of Tracey Emin’s today for £4 with loads of colour plates, for instance.

Get on down the library. It’s cheap or free and there’s lots going on there.