We know that some people have difficulty talking about their feelings, especially in groups. Experience has taught us that for some, the ability to draw, paint or sculpt allows them to express what they cannot say with words. To help them, we have set aside an art studio with crayons, paints and clay.

One person who has made great use of this space is artist Fetlework Tesfaye, who first came to Minsteracres back in 2012 with a group from Freedom from Torture. “It was difficult for me to be in a group back then and I was on my own a lot. When I first came here, I spent a lot of time in my room – I couldn’t be with people. “Lya Vollering (a member of the community) brought clay and a potter’s wheel to my room and straight away I began to work on a sculpture.”

Those simple beginnings led the following September to an exhibition of art from Fetlework and fellow artist Ausama Khalil. From that exhibition Fetlework received some commissions, and later took part in another exhibition at the Holy Biscuit (opposite the Biscuit Factory art gallery in Newcastle). She’s about to take part in another event at the Holy Biscuit, and is planning another in Liverpool.

Fetlework has studied and taught fine art and sculpture and now, as artist in residence at Minsteracres, she helps other using the art studio.  Reflecting on her experience she says, “Minsteracres was the first step for me. Now, when I arrive here I have no plan but the ideas just come, because this is my place! Spending time with the community is easy now – I feel a part of them.”