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1st November 2022

Love at first mosaic

small size   Jane Mumford with Gabby Wright   3

Art Therapist Gabby Wright had a flash of inspiration after creating a Turkish lamp using the art of mosaics at a recent workshop.

A few years ago, Gabby had been gifted a lamp by a loved one and once she created her own Turkish lamp, she felt strongly that this activity would benefit palliative care patients.

Gabby’s role at the Centre for Creative Health is to work with palliative care patients and their families who are being supported by the Central Adelaide Palliative Care Service at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

As part of this role, she helps patients and families make legacy items through art-based projects, collecting stories and writing letters to capture life stories, lessons in life learned, sentiments, memories and traditions.

“The Legacy Light Project resonated with all aspects of legacy work, with sentiment and meaning imbedded in all aspects of the project,’’ said Gabby.

“Sometimes it can be really significant for those who are dying to know that they have left something tangible behind, something that represents the mark they have left on the world.

“Light as a metaphor is really powerful when we think about it from the context of life, love and death.’’

When Gabby first met 56-year-old Jane Mumford in palliative care at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, she asked her to be the first person to make the Turkish lamp.  While Jane was happy to take part, the ex-British army sergeant cheerfully admitted she was more of an outdoor person and not naturally creative.

However, Jane was keen to create a hand-decorated mosaic Turkish lamp to gift to her friend and carer Viv, who is very important to her. Even after a few sessions Jane is aware of the special legacy she will leave behind.

“I’m also enjoying the process of the therapy and talking to Gabby and finishing something for somebody that I care for very much,’’ Jane said.

“I want to leave knowing that even in something so beautiful and simple, it can hold such a symbolic thought for them and as well for me, cos I’ll be watching down from heaven anyway to make sure that Vivienne is using my lamp.”

There is no planning when embarking on the lamp making activity. This helps Art Therapy to be healing, as it empowers the person to express what they’re feeling in the present moment.

“People who have terminal illness and life-limiting illnesses have often lost all choice and control and most are powerless to what is happening to their body,’’ said Gabby.

Art Therapy offers them some agency back and a chance to advocate for what they want.’’

The Legacy Light Project will offer palliative care patients and their families activities ranging from mosaics, tealight candle holders, candle lanterns and lamps.

The activities can be small or big depending on how much time the patient has and how advanced their disease is.

“Each individual is free to attach whatever metaphor they like to the lamp, it might be love, spirit, connection, making it through the darkness, anything!

“It’s an honour to be able to do that with Jane and others.

“This is what these legacy lamps will do – they will bring everything together.’’

The Centre for Creative Health would like to thank Love in Istanbul for donating the lamp for this activity.

To support patients like Jane, your donation can help CCH deliver legacy projects including The Legacy Light Project.

Donations are accepted here.