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Be Creative Cornwall: The father-daughter duo changing lives

On the outskirts of Wadebridge town centre, father-daughter duo Richard Austin and Emma are working hard to help transform young people’s lives with the power of creativity.

Richard Austin, sculptor and owner of the Sculpture Workshop, and his daughter Emma, the creator of Skullpta Face, have come together to show what a difference creativity and art can make to people, and have recently set up Be Creative Cornwall CIC in order to help neurodivergent young people.


Richard has been sculpting beautiful and unique pieces of art from his workshop in Wadebridge since 2003, working on commissions sent all over the world, while also turning his hand to teaching and working with local schools. With daughter Emma finding herself in a healthcare job she didn’t love, Richard suggested the two come together to offer unique sculpting classes to the community. Like her father, Emma has always been a creative soul, finding inspiration in whatever she could to make pieces of art - but it hasn’t always been easy.


“I had a really terrible teacher that told me I had no creative flair, which really stuck with me,” she told Wadebridge Life. “But for us to be able to work with people and give them a positive experience of art, and teach them that nothing is impossible, it’s amazing.

“Being creative is a part of our lifestyle; it helps relieve stress, and when you have the students come in and give them that space, it’s really beneficial to them.”


And the workshops have proven just that, allowing total creative freedom, so for those who may have never picked up a paintbrush or pencil before, it shows just how much possibility there is in art.


“People come along and a lot of them say it’s the best thing they’ve done in Cornwall,” Richard said. “It’s just about enabling people to understand and engage with the creative side they never knew they had.”


With Richard’s commission work, and Skullpta Face’s various creative workshops, the pair decided that they could do something even bigger that would benefit lots of people in Cornwall - so they set up Be Creative Cornwall CIC.


Emma explained: “Be Creative Cornwall is led by demand. It’s more of a journey we’ve been led to because we’ve had requests from parents who know of us already, who have children that have extraordinary skills in creativity, but perhaps have high functioning autism and don’t necessarily fit into those boxes that give them the opportunities.”


“We take the student and build a bespoke plan for them - and they drive it,” Richard continued. “We bring them in for an interview so we can understand their passions, and then we work on that plan with them. Any skills we can’t deliver, we will pass them onto other practitioners that we are connected with.”


Recently, Richard and Emma worked with a neurodivergent student who struggled severely with every-day social interactions, but had an incredible talent for art. After her time spent with Be Creative Cornwall, and building her confidence, this student was finally able to carry out those essential tasks, but has also gone on to win awards for her work.

“This student, who was rejected by every educational system, has now won two major awards in Cornwall - one in creative writing and another in art,” Richard said. “She has a very specific passion, fusing taxidermy with sculpting.”


The possibilities are ‘almost limitless’ with Richard and Emma’s work. From life casting and their dedication to helping young people realise their potential through Be Creative Cornwall, to their fun workshops that allow people to take a piece of art they have created from scratch away with them afterwards, Richard and Emma believe creativity is the answer to a happier, healthier frame of mind.


“I went from a job that I really didn’t enjoy, to something that allows me to keep learning and growing as a person. To have that is a gift in itself,” Emma said. “Sometimes people come in and want their sculpture to be perfect - so society’s expectation of beauty can even show itself in this - but we’re aiming to reverse that, by teaching them that the faces they create are not always perfect, but that’s ok.”

Richard and Emma offer one-hour workshop tasters, two-hour workshops, birthday parties, hen do’s and even sculpture kits to do at home to ensure they’re as inclusive as possible.


Richard added: “Don’t fear your creative curiosity - just come along and have a go!”


To book a workshop, or find our more about Be Creative Cornwall CIC, visit www.sculptureworkshop.co.uk or www.skullptaface.co.uk


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