Fall, leaves, fall

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Emily Bronte.


It’s autumn, the nights are drawing in, the heating’s coming on and the colours outside are starting to change. This week we took our creative cue from nature.


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How often do you notice the leaves that collect in the gutters, on the pavement, in the garden? They’re beautiful and intricate things, when you look really close up. The group got to work on using the leaves as inspiration for their work this week.

We explored the colours, shapes and textures of leaves and drew, printed and painted with them on our quilt blocks. This is how we got on:


Autumn is my favourite season because my birthday is in autumn. It’s the 6th of November and I used to always remember it’s the day after bonfire night so I was like ‘bonfire night!’ then I’d go to bed and then it was ‘birthday!’ and there was always conkers and big piles of leaves and I’d just go round kicking leaves and that nice crunchy sound, that’s what I think of when I think of autumn.

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I think Halloween over here’s a new thing now. I used to like making the guy, for ‘penny for the guy’ on bonfire night. We’d pull out all the stops to beat the kids from the next estate. There was no health and safety, we used to jump all over the bonfire, grab anything we could!

Whilst we worked, we talked about some of the changes in our lives and the places where we’d lived and grown up.

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I was born and grew up in Jamaica, and my mum had 12 of us, and it was very hectic! I emigrated to America in 1972, and I came back here in 1988.

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Where was I born? … We used to call it ‘Penno’. It was lovely. Very very hard, very hard living but it was lovely. It was very nice, I enjoyed it.  It was so different, it was so different … It was a long street, ever so long.

It was the one long street opposite the dock – do you know the Tobacco docks? – The highway, near the Tower of London. It runs from St George’s in the East right the way down to the Tower of London and right on the other side there’s the docks and they all used to queue up, waiting to get a day’s work, years ago.

 … we got on. Chasing, oh ‘there’s your mother!’ and you’d run, run for your life! ‘Quick it’s your mum, quick!’ Yeah, it was very hard living but it was nice, we got on with it.

You always used to tell me a saying, what was it? Hard up and ..

Hard up and happy! It was very hard living. 

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I grew up in Islington … we moved there and then the war came, didn’t it, the war came. I remember once we went down in Liverpool Street station with all our bedding, me and my sister and my mum. But my brother, my dad wouldn’t even come, he said ‘no, not my boy’. We’re gonna go under the table, if the bombs come we’ll go under the table. Anyway, we went down to Liverpool Street and took all our bedding and the next morning, we used to see all of the soldiers come off the train and the woman used to come along with her trolley ‘tea or coffee’ or whatever …  it’d be the same thing again, the next evening. 

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A veritable study!

I’m not sure I’ve ever really looked at a leaf going brown before, the colours … coming from the edges.

This week was all about looking at what is around us; the things we often miss or pay little attention to. Looking at the wonderful artwork made this week is proof that we are all artists, no matter where we’re from or how old we are! We just need a little bit of inspiration now and again.

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Author: Kara Jarrold

Kara is Head of Arts & Wellbeing at Sense. She leads on arts projects that find ways to empower people to find their cultural voice, working collaboratively and experimentally with artists and participants to improve access to art through the senses.

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