THe Borders is embracing HeartArt, a creative project launched to support young people who struggle to sleep through the night.
Owned, managed and loved by Berwickshire duo Colleen Henderson-Heywood and Zoe Mills, ‘HeartArt’ consists of small paintings, drawings, artwork and photography produced by people who are affected by insomnia and/or illness.
These works are sold, and the proceeds are then divided into three; a third goes to the artist, a third is expenses for the materials used, while the final third goes into a creative fund aimed at helping others to get involved.
The fund will eventually award up to £50 for the supply of materials for creative projects for those using creativity to grow, develop and heal.
Colleen, who suffers from insomnia - a side effect of the medication she takes to control Parkinson’s disease, explained: “HeartArt was born out of my own experience with insomnia and the need to do something constructive but quiet during the night.
“You can’t really get up and go out and cut the grass or practise the drums for example, so I’d paint or play with glitter and glue. The pictures started to mount up, so I decided to do something useful with them.
“I asked a few friends with shops if they would stock them - if they sold the plan was to create a fund so that we can support other people, especially young people, who struggle with chronic illness - the idea being that they can get art materials supplied and join our group.
“It’s for anyone, particularly young people, who have insomnia or maybe emotional problems, and struggle through the night. The idea is to occupy the time making pieces of art work”
“HearArt is simple,” she added. “We can change someone’s life for the better, by giving them a focus, friendship and support. Sometimes the smallest thing can have the biggest impact.”
Colleen shared the concept with 18-year-old Zoe Mills from Coldingham, who suffers from epilepsy and struggles to sleep through the night, and they launched the project together.
Zoe is currently studying biology through Open Learning, but she says her first love has always been art.
“I suffer from seizures and have insomnia so this has been a really good project for me,” Zoe explained.
“It’s just a lovely idea. It’s nice to know that if you can’t sleep at night it’s not the end of the world, you can get up and do something constructive.
“I do a bit of everything really, whatever I can come up with that’s creative - painting, taking photographs and making jewellery.
“I find doing something creative can be very therapeutic.”
Colleen and Zoe held their first HeartArt event on Saturday, in the form of a craft fair at Allanton Village Hall, which raised £100.
And with a regular HeartArt fair now arranged - they will take place in the Allanton Village Hall on the second Sunday of every month - they are hoping to build up custom and develop the creative fund.
“It was great to finally get our stuff out there and we sold some pieces which was excellent,” Zoe said. “It’s an idea that we both came up with - to create lovely things and help others who may be in a similar situation.
“It’s all about getting the idea out there and letting other people who may be suffering from insomnia or other problems know about it - we want to get them on board.
“It’s good to have a regular slot in Allanton so we can spread awareness and reach out to other people.”