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How art changed Raelene's life: A personal story

Art as Exercise for the Brain - Enhance Cognitive Function with I Create Classes 01

Raelene, one of our lovely I Create clients at Carmelite, sat down with us to share her colourful history with art.

Her passion for all things creative started at a very young age.

“I first used a needle and thread at 3 years of age and made a handkerchief out of an old piece of sheet,” Raelene said.

“My auntie, who is a lot younger than my mum, helped me do it. My grandmother helped too, teaching me how to sew a little embroidered daisy in the corner of it. That, and helping grandma pick flowers and make little posies was the start of my whole life. Over the years, I have used my hands to sew embroideries, paint and draw (or try to!), decorate cakes and collect flowers. These were the big loves of my life.”




Her husband would help her to drop off bouquets in a car filled with flowers.

“He’d put up with not being able to get into the bathroom because of flowers,” Raelene said, laughing.

“When he retired and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I became his carer until I couldn’t do it properly anymore. It was difficult to get help as he didn’t have any siblings. After a stroke, he ended up in a nursing home for 5 years. Since then, I’ve been on my own and trying to enjoy doing the things that I like doing.”

Raelene taught craft voluntarily for about 30 years in community/church groups around Adelaide, Waruka and Mt Gambier. In between, she also undertook an art certificate course (Fine Arts, Majoring in Ceramics).

“There, I was handed a piece of clay and fell in love straight away,” Raelene said.

“Nowadays, I really enjoy the classes with Rebecca and how fun they are. We’ve done mosaics, collages, painting, used crayons, pastels, and heaps of other fun stuff.”

“Art helps me because of the creativeness of it. You lose yourself in it because it doesn’t work unless you turn off and get right into it. Some things you can just do and talk, but a lot of things you just have to go beyond yourself into another realm.”

“It’s very good for me in that I can forget my pain for a few moments at a time. I deal with severe lower back pain (L5/6 down) is all crushed and broken so it helps me take my mind off of it completely.”

Raelene joined the I Create class in late 2020.

“It’s now the highlight of my week to come to this class on a Wednesday.”