Dotty is bonkers, absolutely bonkers, in the loveliest of ways you can be. She has completely changed her life. a story of a life with a complex and often traumatic history. I like Dotty, she is honest, positive, reflective, optimistic and motivational. She defines herself as a 'Rainbow Positivity Artist' and really is a living example of positively and the seeking of joy. She is also a great artist and illustrator. Dotty is also amazing at bringing people together, creating community action spaces and makes great vegan cakes. She's very authentic and meets everyone with a loving welcoming hug.
I first met Dotty around 2012-2013. At the time I was busy building a community magazine known as 'Community Glue'. I wanted to feature people who 'were doing things for themselves',. The type of people creating opportunities for other people in their community. People who often shared a core story of overcoming trauma and giving back to their community. I am inspired by local heroes passing back their life learning to others now walking a difficult road. Dotty was and still is definitely one of those special people.
We became friends after spending time sharing stories, how can you not hear the truth of someone and not feel connected, how can you not be inspired by someone's strength to overcome and not feel deep respect for them. We became genuine friends and since then have often worked together on many things.
I'm not sure who put me in contact with Dotty. I do remember we first met at the Biggest Vintage Arts and Crafts Fayre in the North of England. It was held annually at the historical winter Gardens in Blackpool. I still am inspired by how Dotty single-handedly with no practical or financial support, organised and delivered these events. The Fayres were an eclectic hub of life, energy hundreds of local people selling their proud homemade wares. Thousands of visitors staying a while.
Dotty has this real skill, this magical ability to make things be more than what many other people would do. This wasn't just the biggest and most successful fayre in the North of England it also had a theme, vintage aka 1930's style. It contained a vintage tearoom, live local musicians, guest speakers and so much more it wasn't a craft fayre it was a community multi-sensory beautiful experience. Although she no longer runs these it was clear to me back then that this lady has a unique ability to visualise something and make it happen out of nothing. This is truly an asset and gift that not many people, communities or organisations have. A rare skill.
Dotty does a lot of creative & soul based empowerment work now, especially with woman and girls. She makes clothes, sells art on Etsy, paints murals, delivered workshops, creates her own zines, exhibits her work, teaches art, creates birth charts and much more. She does all of this whilst studying at University
Presently we are in partnership together on several projects. We run a small social enterprise known as Bohemia and under that, the project we manage together is a free community space ('known as The Space') where we also incorporate my StoryWork & TeaTalk sessions. We also host a Camerados public living room day every Friday at The Space.
Other ongoing partnerships with dotty also include The Story Department where we are both working in partnership with the inspiring global Camerados Movement. We are developing ways to collect and share the stories of Camerados from all over the world. This is such a fun project, we get to travel a lot which I love so much, eat cake, drink tea, share stories and make things, in this case, we are building an international newspaper bonkers zine.
We are also at the time of writing this (March 2019) about to begin a new partnership project, commissioned by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS PArtnership to develop an innovative pilot project to help reduce male suicide across the region. There will (or maybe by now) more information on this my projects section of Journal. If not it will be there soon.