Oikos ‘artist of the month’ is Sarah Louise Bedford and her work brings ‘Joy and Vibrancy’ to everyone who takes a peek on their way for a pee in the Oikos Art Gallery in Erdington.
Our occasional in-house writer, Sheila Pennell, went along to meet Sarah on Valentine’s Day to ask about her life, art, and what inspires her. Initially, this seemed to be the yummy pancake she was devouring while crocheting a work of woolly art at the same time!
Sarah is 31, lives in the heart of Erdington, and has belonged to the ‘Oikos family’ at their first home in Short Heath, and ‘moved with them’ to their fancy new location on the High Street.
Says Sarah: “Just now, I’m studying for a foundation diploma in art and design with OCAD – an online course – with the help of a grant from the NHS. And this is because I have bi-polar which means I have up-moods but sometimes dark times too. My art reflects this and Oikos curator, Helena DeRybekill chose my light, bright and happy pieces for the gallery walls this month.
“At first, I worked behind the coffee bar, met Jobe who started the creativity evenings (and lots more!) – showed him my portfolio and it all took off from there. Everyone from the church side – our pastor Jeremy Dearing and Oikos cafe manager Ben Jeffries – plus those involved in CAFE Arts – have helped me build my confidence and make life really good for me.”
“I love working in ink, but recently started using oil. Sometimes I dabble in water colour – and amazingly I’ve had offers to buy my work. My future, I hope, will be in medical illustration and I’m currently volunteering with ‘Integritas’ – a health care charity – on projects like ‘how to use inhalers’ – all in pictures so everyone can understand.”
“I was put off art as a school-child – I was told my work was ‘too dark’. But during a stay in hospital in 2014, an understanding Occupational Therapist suggested I use the art room to do my own thing. And I did! I’m so glad I’ve ‘come home’ to the love of my life.”