Stretch & Sketch | Drawing Meets Yoga
Armed with an Illustration degree, Bristol-based Jo Brimble has always continued to draw, paint and print alongside her role within the Clarks creative team that sets each seasonal direction. Now, maternity leave has seen her take a new creative direction. Here she talks about Stretch & Sketch, a unique yoga and drawing class at Wild Wolf’s Yoga studio in the heart of Bristol’s old town, and how it inspires others with its strict, ‘anyone can draw’, policy.
On Stretch & Sketch
When I was pregnant with my daughter Agnes I went to pregnancy yoga at Wild Wolf’s Yoga studios. I loved that it was a very contemporary, relaxing space – different to any other yoga space I’ve seen. They often think outside the usual ‘yoga box’ and do different things, such as a ‘yoga and movie’ night, or the Wolf Pack running class. One night at 3am I was feeding Agnes and came up with the idea of Stretch & Sketch. I sent Jess (who owns Wild Wolf’s Yoga) a message explaining my idea to see if she would be interested, and went back to sleep. When I woke up I thought, ‘Oh God, was that a good idea or not at 3am?!’ But I got a reply from Jess saying she loved the idea.
The concept is that the class splits in half and one side spends half the class doing relaxing Yin Yoga while the other side draw them – then you swap over. Yin Yoga creates really beautiful contours of the body to draw and some challenging shapes as well, so it’s a great subject matter. Mixed with the yoga it aims to allow you some time in order to escape, relax and be creative.
On the ‘Anyone can draw’ policy
Anyone can attend the class, we have a strict ‘anyone can draw’ policy and openly encourage people of all yoga and drawing abilities. I love seeing what those people who start the class saying, “Oh I can’t draw,” come up with by the end of it. It’s usually a really positive surprise. We have played around with different formats so far to see what works the best, but we always make sure the classes are really chilled, friendly and encouraging. This is very important to us.
We’ve had a great response so far. When we tell people about the class they love the idea, especially as it’s so unique. We’ve also had a lot of people say, “This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!”
There is one lady who came to every session who was quite hesitant, but after her first Stretch & Sketch session she went out and bought a sketchbook, and has been drawing in the evenings. In such a short space of time you can see how she’s improved. That has been my biggest surprise from doing this, how much it has inspired her! So lovely to see.
I’ve set up create.your.escape as the umbrella for all the mindful creative classes we will be running at Wild Wolf’s Yoga studios. The aim is that each class allows you to leave any stresses, concerns or woes at the door, and just enjoy some time out to be creative. We are going to have a longer Stretch & Sketch session on a weekend once a month, as the hour-long classes go a bit too fast, we also have a couple of mindful-making workshops coming up, a lino-print Christmas card one, and a felt Christmas decoration one. I would also like to do a session where you enjoy a mix of meditation and create a modern mandala.
On creativity & parenthood
I’ve been very surprised at how becoming a mother has affected me. At the start of my maternity leave I really struggled, having never had a break from my career. But as time went on, the space to allow you to think about ideas, creative and otherwise, has been so refreshing.
I think becoming a mum has forced me to slow down and have time to think, both about what matters in life but also time to let my mind wander. Everyone leads such busy lives these days, I think having time to think is completely underrated. Plus sleeping less means you have more time for it!
Future Dates Stretch & Sketch: 22nd Oct, 18th Nov, 10th Dec. All 1:30-3:30pm. Mindful Making Workshops: Lino-printing Christmas card workshop: 5th November, 1:30-3:30pm; Felt Christmas decoration workshop: 12th November, 1:30-3:30pm.