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Alexx SS

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Window Wanderland is 10!

Ten years ago I decided to start an idea that had been floating around in my head, using light, windows and some paper. Can’t believe we have just had our tenth Wanderland, how amazing is that? Looking at this year’s 200+ surveys, it’s hard to ignore how loved this quirky festival is by all involved. Seeing the variety of displays and imagination always renews my own desire to keep it going. However, this is becoming more and more challenging in the current climate.

Imagine if kindness was directly linked to money, the NHS, Arts, Education and the Planet would all be flourishing. And selfishly, Window Wanderland would be able to survive. But this is not how life is, and maintaining the WW office, website and social media on our income is impossible. Money for public arts and Culture is at an all-time low, and our teeny trading income does not match our outgoings. My goal has always been for the WW resources to be free but that would mean being wholly grant funded, which is sadly now an extinct model. We have done really well to get this far, existing only through grant funding. But now having been repeatedly refused funding, we’re forced to imagine new ways to keep the lights on. So we have opened our digital Art Shop and created a range of downloadable stencils for some mindful artistic moments (find the code to your FREE stencil below).

Each year I stick stuff all over the windows to decide what to make. A mess of colour, pen marks, paper, it stays up for most of the year afterwards, simply because I enjoy looking at it. Getting to make my window display is  “you’re no good, baby you’re no good”. Hence she has to be listened to then politely ushered out, which takes a great deal of self-compassion. But, when I actually get to create, it is mindful, I am present and in my happy place. Over the years I have created some more manageable pieces, (not for a Wanderland), making these ephemeral artworks as presents or cards for friends. 

A few years ago we were approached by Eliza, who had seen WW and wanted to use it in her place of work. How exciting we thought, where would this new Wanderland be? It will be inside, she said, the displays we create are on our own windows and they do not face the street. Eliza worked as support worker for vulnerable adults in a residential home, and most of them had not been outside for years due to covid. The stories she told us were heartbreaking, and the idea that she felt WW could bring joy was very humbling. She saw the creation of the displays as the perfect mindful activity in themselves. They would look great from the inside- brightening up their homes using natural light even on a grey day. It allowed us to research the best materials to use with a variety of disabilities. These private Wanderlands were a huge success and followed into projects in nursing homes, dementia units and people with brain injuries. The staff at one centre expressed surprise that one resident in particular had been able to join in. They explained that this resident usually chooses not to participate, often appears distressed, but has come forward to make something. Just placing colour together on the window made her smile. How awesome is that?

These stencils are designed for a range of abilities, printed-at-home, in a variety of sizes, with instructions and little cost to you or the planet. They have just enough risk to be interesting and absorbing, as they require cutting out, before experimenting with coloured paper or tempera paints. Not only are you benefitting from the pleasure of making but they look gorgeous when finished either as a card, on a window or framed. We have also created a little soundtrack on spotify to get your ears inspired too. 

There are scores of more eloquent writers than I to explain why being absorbed in a creative activity is good for you, so we will simply agree that it is completely fabulous.  With the wealth of wellbeing resources available online today, there is something for everyone, from knitted toast to drawing on wood with a burning tool, but we are staying Old School, and staying cheap, with our super stencils. 

The first design would be a Lotus, as the stories of this flower have always resonated with me. It is no secret that I have struggled with my own darkness, and this beautiful flower comes out of the mud; it is a survivor that searches for the light. ‘No mud, No lotus’. Other stories say that there was a group of people off the coast of Libya who ate Lotus’s, putting them ‘in a dreamlike state, blissfully forgetful’, which is how my husband could describe me. Apparently they smelt so good due to the flower’s scent that they never bathed as well! And finally, it is used as a symbol for peace with many anti-war resistance movements, a flower for peace and compassion. In my opinion, there is never any excuse for war, though sadly it is directly linked to money, and will thrive until this paradigm changes. If you would like to make a Peace Lotus, please accept our free gift and use the code ‘PEACE24’ at the checkout.  Now, where was I? Ah, yes, imagine a world where kindness is linked to money…

Peace, love and bananas,


Claim your FREE stencil over in our shop:

We’d love to see your creations – tag and share with us on socials:

Necklace of Raindrops ref. –

Lotus eating ref. –

Anti war Lotus ref. –