Artist Kay Lloyd started Think Purple Art Studios in regional Tweed Heads in 2016, with an aim to bring her community together through art, and provide a safe place for people to connect with their creativity. With a background in fine arts, Kay provides an environment that encourages children, teens, adults and the elderly to find self expression, confidence and self awareness as they create art.
Kay is passionate about the healing role that art plays as a non verbal way of communicating our inner feelings, and her classes at Think Purple Art Studios are structured to promote these intrinsic restorative benefits.
Why did you start Think Purple Arts?
The main reason was that my husband is a builder and an exhausted one at that. Three years ago he sat in a hospital on a drip from exhaustion and stress, as he was the main breadwinner. I sat with him and realised that I need to step up, put aside my fear and perfectionism and put my plans into action.
So I did. I wanted to build a community of like minded people. To create a non-judgmental space where people of all ages and backgrounds could come together and share stories, a place to build resilience and self love.
I knew the power of using creativity to heal oneself, due to the loneliness and isolation I felt after I gave birth to my daughter. I suffered with post natal illness for many years and art kept me going. It guided me in a way that nothing else could have done. It was unbelievably powerful and quite literally saved my sanity and life.
With this knowledge I wanted to share it and help others who may be going through any kind of hurt, upset, grief, illness, depression or physical health issues. I wanted to give them tools, to empower them and make them feel positive and joyful, and for them to come together as a community and support one another.
How does Think Purple Arts focus on wellness and healing?
Creativity is VITAL for our life. It creates balance and flow. Without using our innate human creativity we are shutting down certain pathways in our brains that allow us to think outside the box and allow us to live a life of ease. This in turn can allow negative thoughts in and once these negative thoughts take hold they can start to affect our bodies and minds, which can lead to illness, both mental and physical.
For too long we have lived in our left brains, the logical, linear thinking, mathematical side, the thinking word side. Our poor old right brains have taken a back seat to this driven left. The right side that houses our imagination, intuition, holistic thinking and visualization has been ignored too much. It’s time to take it back and rebalance.
At Think Purple we use the processes of many different arts and crafts to help increase positive emotions and build resilience, therefore helping with overall health, wellness and mental health.
Everything that we do at the studio focuses on building positive attitudes and acceptance that we are perfect just the way we are.
The processes of art are calming, relaxing and can create a state of meditation and inner calm. This is the focus at Think Purple. Creating a state of active meditation through the activities we perform, so that we release the stress and relax.
Tell us about some of the groups of people who you are helping to heal through art.
I hold over 11 different art sessions a week for kids, teens and adults.
I run self empowerment workshops for teen girls. The aim is to create a support network, mentorship and friendship group for the girls who attend.
I hold space for self expression for adults. This is a time when adults come together to play with their inner child. There is no right or wrong to what we create at the studio. Within this group I also offer space for NDIS participants. Some come with a support person and the session gives them social support and offers community participation, which is hugely beneficial to their mental health.
I work in aged care facilities where I gently guide the elderly (some with dementia) to use their hands to enjoy time being creative. It also helps their memory.
Certain activities help their cognitive skills too. I am very much about community and this involves me leaving the studio to spread the word of creativity for our mental and physical health and happiness.
I work a lot with teens.
By this age kids have usually been drawing and painting for a while at school and have usually grasped the basics of these disciplines. However, as school life continues art can sometimes be pushed aside for other commitments. When this happens, kids lose their creative flair and their logical left brain thinking can take over and cause havoc with anxiety levels and stress, especially approaching exam time.
This is why these teen art sessions are vital for giving kids a way to relax and unwind and keep their right brain thinking switched ON. I am passionate about the resilience that can be achieved through art making and as we get older it becomes even more important to keep in the flow of creativity.
These sessions offer anyone from 12 years old upwards a relaxing and self expressive environment where they are free to explore their preferred medium, and receive guidance and lessons to progress forward in their art.
These are very casual drop in sessions where they have the option of help from me if needing ideas and inspiration. I know most that come just want the freedom to express themselves their way, use my space and materials and ask for help as needed. I want them to be independent thinkers when it comes to painting and drawing. It is important that they are allowed to follow their own world of imagination.
How do you help women to connect with their creativity, and how does this help them meditate?
I use all kinds of tools and techniques to get women to be in the present moment. I love my art of mindfulness workshops. All the art workshops generally begin with meditation. I use all kinds of music to engage an emotional response. Music is a powerful way to unlock the right side of our brain.
Your greatest challenge?
Balance in all areas of my life. Family and business.
It has also been a challenge to keep the high vibration mindset I need to help others remain in theirs. I have achieved this by regular self love, and time to myself to reflect in meditation on art and exercise.
Advice for future female leaders
Outsource what you need to, and where you can afford to. Allow the house to be messy, it doesn’t matter. If it does, get a cleaner.
Put yourself first because if you aren’t 100%, nothing will ever work. Practice self love, always listen to your body and when you are tired, stop. The to do list will always be there.
Keep a notebook to hand at all times to write down any spontaneous ideas you have. Set goals and then surrender them over to the universe. Take action when you slip into procrastination.
Book a holiday and work everything around that. Live In the moment, practice mindfulness, practice meditation. Be creative. Love what you do, if you don’t then get out quickly, because you aren’t in alignment.
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