Caring Christine re-discovers her arty side

Christine Muir.

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A Fort William woman who cares for her housebound daughter has had her love of art reignited after using a charity’s Creativity in Care pack initiative – with excellent results.

Christine Muir, aged 50, had not painted since high school when she was given one of the packs by Highland-wide charity Connecting Carers and says it has transformed her life.

Since receiving her pack, Christine, a parent carer to daughter Shauni, 27, who has lived with mental health issues for 12 years and hasn’t left the house for more than four years, has been painting and drawing as well as painting stones for her garden.

But it is her work on upcycling projects that is giving her the most pleasure.

‘My Carer Link Worker Lisa MacGillivray told me about the packs so I asked her
to send me one,’ explained Christine.

‘I got it at the end of June and as I was looking for things to do during lockdown I
started painting wee stones. I’d put a cat on, or a ladybird, at first just for the grandkids and then I thought, ‘crikey, I’ve not done drawing since I left school at 16’ so I put pencil to paper and started drawing giraffes and elephants and other animals.’

It was at that point Christine started to search around for things to paint and decided to try upcycling.

She continued: ‘I started off with a chair and did my own design on it, a tree and Buddha’s face, and it took off from there.’

Christine then decided to open a shop on US e-commerce site Etsy to try to sell some of her upcycling goods, but after a month closed it again.

She said: ‘I got a couple of stools from a second-hand shop and did a fair amount of work on them. I took them down as they hadn’t sold after a month, but I plan to start advertising my work again soon.’

The packs have also had a positive life-changing effect on Christine in general.

‘It’s had a good impact, it’s been great, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I forgot how much I liked art.

‘I’ve always done arty bits anyway, my own decorating in the house and stuff, but getting back into even the sketching, it’s just great. I can get away into my own wee world for a few hours, just away from everything.’

And rekindling her artistic passion has helped Ms Christine with her caring role, which has been made so much harder by lockdown.

Christine added: ‘It’s a distraction. Even when I’m not doing the actual painting of furniture, I’m thinking what else I can do, or what colour will go with this. It’s
taking my mind off things, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

‘I know lockdown’s been hard, but if it wasn’t for that I might not have got back into art. There’s only so much cleaning and decorating you can do.’