Last week I saw my first blooming daffodil in the wild, randomly at the side of a road, always a sign that nature is waking up.

My grandmother, who we lived with, used to have a competition with her neighbour about who was the best gardener; part of this was demonstrated by whose daffodils came up first.

One year she found the miraculous new product of plastic daffodils and stuck them in the garden leaving the neighbour to wonder why her daffodils took an extra two weeks to come out.

SPRING GLORY: Lucy Turner's artworks go on show virtually at R-Space Gallery

SPRING GLORY: Lucy Turner's artworks go on show virtually at R-Space Gallery

This is what came to mind when I saw some images from Lucy Turners new exhibition at R Space gallery, Lisburn.  Sometimes it’s just joyful to see spring flowers; with our mass disconnection from the seasons, lockdown has forced many to appreciate the joy of a spring day in a different way. It’s nice to simply see a blue sky, hear birds sing and be conscious of nature around us. A walk in the park seems like an extra treat.

Even an indoor living flower bulb at this time of year can bring a little spontaneous joy.

Lucy Turner is a printmaker. What makes her collection of work in R-Space Gallery stand out is that she has used her time in lockdown to simply get on with the joy of creating. If you develop a create bug, you will never be bored or alone.

A Christmas card someone sent me of Lucy's work last year stayed on my mantle piece all year. It was the joy of the colours and pattern that allowed it to stake its claim. The R-Space exhibition opening will take place virtually on 6 March. For details see the gallery website. 

Féile an Earraigh runs from 1-17 March and Moon Music projects have made a video for the festival. I’d like to turn a spo light on Seinoid Murray.  Seinoid is a saxophone player and I like to call her a Zoom wrangler but her official title is outreach officer.

She has been running Moonbase, the project that sprung out of the Black Box for adults with learning difficulties, for a while and after a protracted start she got into the way of working in a permanent physical space on Royal Avenue — just in time to lose it again.

Undeterred, she set up her outreach and high quality workshops online via Zoom reaching right into the homes of members isolating. Her enthusiasm and energy reverberate throughout as participants get musicians or artists to work alongside them. 

Seonaid has been recording in various locations across Belfast with singing, poetry, storytelling and visual art alongside the women from Moonbase. The cinematic results will be unveiled on International Women’s Day. If it’s anything like the one she developed for disability week (below), we are all in for a treat.

There are a number of online visual arts exhibitions you can view in the Féile but I’m not convinced they really do the work justice and make me crave a physical exhibition more and more.

I’m so delighted that the University of ATypical received more funding from the Department of Communities to roll out its pilot of weekly sign language art reports to the D/deaf community in both Irish and British Sign language.

Language is an amazing thing and the complexities within the D/deaf community even more so. During my visits around the Churches in Belfast I came across a number specifically for the D/deaf community and Kingham church off Botanic I found really interesting.

They had a Church of Ireland Minister although it was a Presbyterian Church and it was quite an experience to be in the middle of the congregation while they were sign singing. All their church furniture was built so that people using sign language could see each other’s hands.    

During that visit it was explained to me that without the communal gatherings it can be quite isolating for individuals locked out of much of mainstream, so I can only imagine how lockdown has been working for them.

Connecting the community to the arts very  important. So if you know of anyone who might be interested, do let them know about the weekly art updates.

Open Arts has a Zoom festival programmed for anyone with disabilities over 18 from 22 March to 1 April who is not in one of their mainstream programmes. There is everything from dance, poetry and singing to visual art.   

Courtesy of Bbyond, this Thursday from 6-9pm, I will be presenting along with Steve Batts from Echo Echo Dance and James King as part of their arts and mind event on embodiment.  

I will be discussing how Belfast artists and art therapists have a unique opportunity to be global leaders in contemporary art and art therapy using the example of the Hydrangea Project Belfast-Chicago. This is a 10-year collaboration between myself and Suellen Semekoski, Adjunct Professor of Art Therapy at the School of art Institute Chicago. Suellen specialises in working with veterans email if you’re interested for the live session.