Opportunities for Change promotes Creativity at Designs in Mind

A seating area with patterned cushions and floral tea towels and dog patterned pyjamas.
Opportunities come about when change happens. This week’s blog is all about the shape of 2024 at Designs in Mind and how change can bring great opportunities.
We’ve had a lot of changes over the last 6 months. new staff, returning and new volunteers, new office space within our studio and as always new projects aplenty. These changes can be daunting but also bring new opportunities for creativity.
As a Member when I was informed we would be having new artist lead staff, it felt daunting at first. Thoughts of how will the dynamics of our studio days change with a new person, however these worries were quickly put aside as Lydia has fitted in perfectly with Designs in Mind.
A smiling woman in an orange top holds a blue patterned cushion.A seating area with patterned cushions and floral tea towels and dog patterned pyjamas.
I asked Lydia to share a few comments on her role, the draw to Designs in Mind and what studio projects are exciting her for 2024:
“My role is Design Lead, I help to collaboratively lead studio sessions, organise and lead projects alongside the artist team. It is also my job to undertake digital design projects, taking work the studio members produce and translating it into things like print designs for our wider projects or shop products.The thing that drew me to my role at Designs in Mind was the opportunity to work in a role where I could help people in the community and allowed me to be creative. I was particularly drawn to the people I met at my interview and how lovely everyone is – this is still the best part of being at Designs in Mind!
In 2024, I am really excited to lead my first Member studio sessions based on our new theme ‘Lark’ and to see the work that the members make in response to this theme”.
As a member of staff too, knowing I was about to get a new boss was somewhat terrifying! I’d spent a year working with our former CEO. These fears were soon allayed as Ruth is fabulous to work alongside, feeding back to me on my writing and enjoying the opportunity to collaborate with me on blog ideas.
We have been developing methods for our blog upload and presentation style; in the spirit of Designs in Mind, we are learning together.
I’m excited about 2024 because of learning how to navigate and collaborate on our new website. Designs in Mind is such a supportive place to members, volunteers, staff and each other, its so unique and welcoming.
Both Lydia & Ruth are a real testament to the other Staff/Members who interviewed them, it’s like they’ve always been here.
I asked Ruth to also share a few comments on her role, the draw to Designs in Mind and what studio projects are exciting her for 2024:
I am overjoyed to be part of Designs in Mind as we look ahead at the year to come. I feel truly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work with staff, volunteers, members, and our funding partners in the role of CEO. I am really enjoying getting to know everyone and working in the studio, which feels so welcoming and vibrant. We have many exciting projects this year, ahead including completing commissions, expanding our connections with the community, plans for celebratory member’s days, exploring funding for our services, and developing work based on our new creative theme for the year, ‘Lark.’ This role combines my management experience with my background in the creative arts and textile design, and I’m really looking forward to being involved across the whole organisation.
The cameradie in supporting each other at Designs in Mind creates such a strong bond to each other, its a rare find to feel so welcomed and at home in the workplace. Designs in Mind creates an environment of acceptance like no other.”
A woman with long dark hair smiles at the camera. Ruth working in orange office - Designs in Mind
I also asked our new Wednesday volunteers the same questions I asked Lydia & Ruth.
Mathilda, who joined us recently, shared:
“My role is artist volunteer. I knew I wanted to do some volunteer work and having just finished a degree in Graphic Design, I came across Designs in Mind. I was immediately so excited! The work that I’d seen in the studio when I first visited and what I’d seen online was so inspiring, you could really see the care, love and community in every piece. Since then, what’s drawn me in further are the wonderful members, their stories as well as the friendships I’ve already made and will treasure.
In 2024 I’m looking forward to learning new skills like ceramics and glass cutting. I plan on assisting in a bookbinding workshop later in the year too, an activity that I love and will enjoy having the opportunity to support.
Richard, our new Artist volunteer, shared:
“I’ve been volunteering with Designs in Mind for 2 to 3 months now. What drew me here was embarking on training to be an Art Therapist, my wife knew someone who previously worked at Designs in Mind and she suggested it would be be perfect for me.
Previously I’ve taken my own workshops into schools, as am passionate about children and adults recognising art as a valued skill, alongside academic skills. We all have different skills to offer so arts and creative learning is of much importance.
Art is a great way to express ourselves for mental health challenges.
My favourite thing about being a volunteer at Designs in Mind is helping guide members with tips and ideas when they feel they are struggling to get theirs onto paper or into a craft design. I’ve enjoyed helping members ideas come to life through my gentle nudging prompts”.
Sophie is a returning volunteer:
“I have worked in the design industry for years, and volunteered at Designs in Mind during my art teaching degree, which was cut short due to covid. 
Since then I have had such a draw to return to Designs in Mind. What makes Design in Mind so special is the people. Alongside the calming and encouraging environment which makes it the perfect setting to facilitate creative mindfulness. It truly is a special place.
It’s a real win:win situation for me to be around members and staff, being in the studio once a week, as my working week is usually a day stuck at home in front of a screen working on Graphic Design. Coming here gives to me as much as it is me giving my time to other.
This year I’m looking forward to participating in drawing motifs for our website and screen printing for our Redwoods workshop”.
Each and every time I hear feedback from those involved at Designs in Mind, I glow with pride! This organisation is a big part of all of our lives. Whoever we are, and however we are attending, and in whatever way we show up, we all feel connected, valued and celebrated.
Other New Developments:
We have a wonderful new downstairs ‘orange office,’ where Ruth works alongside Charlotte, our Fundraising Officer.
Our beautiful Collaboration Space  showcasing the designs we have collaborated on with Scion and Habitat.
Our Hopes & Visions for 2024 are for:
•The opportunity to work with external partners, and with each other in the studio
• Celebratory Members Days
• Seasonal Feedback from Members to ensure their journey is productive and positive, wherever it can be
• New and existing Fundraising and Funding opportunities
• Increased footfall in our shop
• More ways to self sustain financially including through workshops and our retail presence

Finally, our annual theme here at Designs in Mind for 2024 is ‘Lark.’ This inspires us to make artwork based on having fun, going on adventures, and larking about. This will be a common thread that will weave itself into all we do this year. We shall spin you more yarns about that in future blogs.

Thanks for reading please feel free to share this blog and our workshops with your friends, families and colleagues.
Blog Written & researched by Willow, Member & Social Media Coordinator