James has lived in sheltered housing for seven years, but only began attending sessions in the autumn of last year. James is a retired professional who taught in London schools, specifically at pupil referral units.

James lives with Glaucoma, this affects every part of his life. He is a regular attendee twice a week on occasions he can sleep after lunch arriving later. Sometimes when he comes, he can’t see, in this case he sits, chats and has a cup of tea. Usually after 20 minutes this will improve and he starts working. However he tries to come out of his flat to the session regardless of whether he can work that day. James is obviously concerned about his eye condition but manages his frustrations most days.

James works mainly on independent projects. He is an untrained artist who enjoys painting and drawing for friends and family identifying preferences for materials using colours that he can see. He likes to use pastel and black paper and acrylic on canvas.

I will ask James what he wants to do, he normally has an idea, often painting pictures for his family. We discuss the concept and work together to find research material, often printing images from google, bringing books in etc. He undertakes preliminary drawings, working out a composition before getting on with the main piece which he now prefers to undertake in his flat, possibly away from my interjections!

James is modest about his achievements; he is a fantastic draughtsman and colourist. James knows when his works are finished, I have tried to push him to do more but he says eye sight means he cant work into paintings too much. I think he knows best.

When not asked to undertake commissions James will participate in group projects such designing and making a felt Toucan.

James is always enthusiastic about other peoples work, encouraging others with his positive comments and attitude.

‘As a result of doing the activities here I have seen a positive change, my specialist doctors think it’s a direct influence from happy crafters  the group’

Long term our aim is keep James engaged by adapting tools and materials, as his eyesight will deteriorate.