The Stories of Women at The Feminist Library
The 4th event in this special series will be on Monday 22nd January; our model will be Claire; 7pm – 9pm at The Feminist Library;
Multi-purpose Resource Centre
5 Westminster Bridge Road
Claire Collison will be presenting her experience of life modelling through performance. Claire is a breast cancer survivor who had a mastectomy and chose not to have reconstructive surgery. She has written about and documented her experience, and at Stories of Women she will link this part of her life with her life modelling and story telling.
There is also the chance to try life modelling yourself, or you may come to draw and/or listen or join in the conversation. During the second half there is a discussion about the body politics of life modelling and related matters. There is guidance for new models – no experience necessary, and some drawing materials are provided – again no experience necessary. Claire will be having an exhibition at her residency at the Women’s Art Library in Goldsmiths University from February 19th – March 14th and she hopes to show drawings from the life modelling evening there!
This event especially welcomes women with personal experiences of breast cancer. The event is open to all women and is a safe space for sensitive discussion about a range of topical and delicate issues. Please bring an open heart and mind! Also if you have a spare robe (and want to model) that’s good too.
At the end there is time to look at the drawings, if you want to show.
Payment is on a sliding scale, you decide. Paying on the door is fine (but it’s great if you buy in advance too!) This site is now charging to have multiple ticket options so if you would like to pay less than £10, please bring cash, any amount appreciated thank you.
Photo credit: Liz Orton from a collaboration between Liz Orton and Claire Collison – www.digitalinsides.org
The London event is on Saturday 12th November and takes place at St Thomas’ Hospital.
The Manchester event is on Saturday 19th November and takes place at The Studio.
Our workshops will be from 2:30pm – 3:30pm.
If you identify as female and would like to take part in one of the events as a model, please email me at email@example.com stating your reasons – there are limited places. This is not paid modelling, but nor would you need to pay to come to the event. Similarly if you are a female life drawing artist in or near Manchester who would like to come and draw at that event, please get in touch. It is great to have some experienced drawers present! It looks like we may not have space to accommodate the same in London unfortunately, however if that changes I shall put the word out. In any case, you can always buy a ticket to the conference and join us that way, as well as seeing lots of inspiring talks. I will be bringing drawing boards and materials.
© Spirited Bodies 2016, photograph by www.lidialidia.com at Loving Bodies event, April ’16
NB I am not intending to photograph the event at Spirit of Women Changemakers conference.
Sound & movement with life drawing
Workshops with soundbath; slow nude movement and stillness; and life drawing.
1pm – 3pm Women
4pm – 6pm Mixed
Participants are invited to flow with Sarah Kent’s healing sounds, finding ways to embody sound, whilst being drawn, or drawing. A sharing of practices is encouraged – people may come to try modelling as well as drawing, and possibly also experiment with sound making.
Collaborative drawing on very large paper, and posing as a group.
Kathleen Dutton will lead drawing exercises, and Esther Bunting the movement and modelling work. This will be a very free and model-centred type of posing, for experimental drawing.
We will begin with a circle of meditation and intention making.
This collaboration began between Esther, Kathleen and Sarah last year at Bargehouse in November, then in March this year we met to experiment together with our different art forms. We are excited to open this up to small workshops, with up to 8 models, and 8 artists/mark makers at each session. If you are interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org explaining your interest in participating. We can then send you the ticket link if selected. We will try to gender balance the mixed event (though mainly with regard to models), and the women’s session is naturally open to all who identify as women.
Tickets are £10 or £15 depending on income. Special rate available for women staying all day.
The sessions are ideal for those wishing to embrace their nudity, feel at one with their body, perhaps already on that path to naked liberation, feeling comfortable nude with others. Alongside that is opening up to creativity of a different nature through mark and sound making. Explore your energy and switch on your senses; this is a healing, moving meditation with soundbath and drawing.
Sarah is a collaborative sound artist, folk fiddler, homeopath, reiki practitioner and bodyworker.
Kathleen is an artist & creative director; zen yoga, theta healing & reiki practitioner with passion for well-being and creative collaboration.
Esther is a movement and performance artist, playwright, event facilitator and life model.
Saturday 2nd April, meet and chat at Southbank Centre
Royal Festival Hall building, Level 2 cafe overlooking the river.
2pm – 4pm
I will be wearing a bright pink hat and put a Spirited Bodies sign on the table.
A chance for women to discuss and demystify the modelling, in advance of trying it on 16th. Let me know you are coming (email@example.com) or just turn up. Questions answered, advice given.
Saturday 16th April, Loving Bodies
St John’s Church, Waterloo – 73 Waterloo Road , London SE1 8TY
11am – 4pm
£15 to come and draw, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to model
This is a fundraising event for women in a Syrian refugee camp –
At present sanitary towels are not often part of the aid available to women in refugee camps. They must purchase these and other items such as nappies and incontinence pads themselves. Vulnerable women have to make the choice between feeding their families and basic feminine hygiene; and the loss of dignity, freedom and access to opportunity (such as going to school) such a choice entails.
Loving Bodies is a mass women’s life drawing event to raise money to buy sanitary towel (& nappy) making machines for women in Za’atari Syrian refugee camp. Proceeds will benefit the charity Loving Humanity UK
The interior of St John’s Waterloo, the host venue, will provide a stunning backdrop to the work.
Whether you are an experienced artist, or a curious beginner this event is a remarkable opportunity to discover something new for yourself and make a differnece in the world.
Spirited Bodies are providing the life models for this event; experienced and totally novice women are welcome to come and pose. This is unpaid for all involved.
Participants are welcome to bring their own drawing materials, although basic materials will be available on the day.
Saturday 5th March, Telegraph Hill Festival
2:30pm – 4:30pm
£7 or £3 concession
Two hours of getting comfortable creating and drawing poses that engender confidence. Women artists welcome to draw throughout, and a chance to model for newcomers – guidance available. Women only, no experience necessary, some drawing materials and boards provided. A warm and safe model-centred space.
Saturday 12th March, Women of the World Festival (WOW)
Southbank Centre, The Blue Room, Spirit Level
3pm – 4:30/5pm
Available for those with a ticket to WOW, as well as pre-arranged models and artists (contact email@example.com for details)
Similar to workshop at Telegraph Hill, but bigger, and including live testimonials from models. Women only.
Life modelling is liberating in a society that has overly sexualised our (female) bodies, and punished us at the same time for the way we look, and for being women. To reclaim our uniqueness and natural beauty without shame is our birthright and tremendously uplifting. To share this with other women (& men) strengthens the experience. Men get a lot of similar things out of it, but for the most part have been less inhibited, more confident.
Our most recent women’s event was:
Women’s session at Tanner Street
Sunday 13th December 2015 11am – 1pm
for whole day event, see https://spiritedbodies.com/events/
Spirited Bodies creates a sacred space for people to reconnect with their physical and spiritual selves through the medium of life modelling and drawing. Participants may be accepting and celebrating their bodies post-illness/pregnancy/operation, getting older, or marking a milestone that aligns with self-acceptance for example. The group are guided through the techniques and demands of life modelling and to create poses together (some guidance may also given for drawing). The aim is to honour our bodies and share in the liberation that nudity offers through this particular means.
A chance to free yourself and experience the liberation of shared nudity. We will let go of judging ourselves and each other, and honour ourselves with a compassionate gaze. Each person’s journey is unique, and participants have a chance to share their experience through talking afterwards which helps to debrief before going back into the world. Modelling is optional; you may come just to draw, and full nudity is not required for the modelling, it is up to individuals. This is a women only event and all are welcome who define themselves as women. We want to create a space which welcomes all women’s body types, including those of trans women. It is not always possible to be so open, as different groups have different needs. It is however important that women who were not born in a female body have spaces to be together with other women, so we collectively embrace the complete variety that women are. Gender is of course a much more varied beast than the binary model most of us grew up with. We want to actively challenge the dualistic convention and celebrate our differences, and yet a women’s space is still necessary in order to reconnect women together positively after such long oppression.
The workshop can be a meditative experience, with some stretching and breathing exercises plus a lot of stillness. Differently-abled people are welcome and we hope we can accommodate you. Everyone has their own way to pose, and we can help you find yours. Modelling places are limited for each event and an application procedure is required in any case to discover your intentions so we may understand what kind of group is coming together. No previous modelling or drawing experience is necessary. Poses last from 1 – 20 minutes and whilst new models are encouraged to challenge themselves, equally this is not an endurance test and we want you to be comfortable. We may suggest poses to you, but ultimately you choose. Please bring a robe to wear when not posing (this can be a dressing gown, loose dress or sarong for example). Some cushions will be provided, as well as drawing materials.
A chance to free yourself and experience the liberation of shared nudity. We will let go of judging ourselves and each other, and honour ourselves with a compassionate gaze. If money is tricky let us know, there may be a way.
Due to the nature of this work it is important that participants arrive by the start time as we will have to lock the doors then, and we do not want to interrupt the session with late arrivals.
For any questions or to apply for a place please email Esther at info.spiritedbodies@
(This workshop will run if we receive a minimum of 6 applications. We will only process payment one week before the event if we have the numbers. If you are interested and can’t make this time, let us know for future.)
Questionnaire for New Models ~ Spirited Bodies
Which gender do you identify as?
1. Have you done any life or other nude modelling before?
2. Why do you want to participate in Spirited Bodies?
3. Do you mind touching another model whilst posing e.g. holding hands?
4. Do you have any accessibility requirements?
Women Only Spirited Bodies at WOW
We return to Women of the World festival at Southbank Centre, on Saturday 7th March, which is my birthday. We will be in the Blue Room, on the Spirit (ground) Level, from 5 – 7pm. Interviews with some of the models will be played while they pose. Women may come to draw, model, listen and watch, or a combination. Get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) to book a place, or buy a ticket for the festival where there will be all sorts of Women oriented attractions 🙂
Most of our events aim to cater more for women than men. That is, priority will be given to women wanting to model, and women’s concerns are at the forefront of the Spirited Bodies ethos. While we are working towards a world in which women have equality with men, I believe that in order for each woman to experience herself as the subject, she must be given the space to do that safely, as so often it does not exist as part of our social and cultural landscape. It stands therefore, that it is up to us to create the necessary safe spaces for women to become fully realised in.
The work at Spirited Bodies happens with the body together with the mind and spirit, and of course we want men to flourish also. So many people in our societies and perhaps especially men, are not embodied enough. That is to say that they live more through their minds. This is an unhealthy imbalance and something we aim to redress.
As the artistic director of Spirited Bodies, my main focus is on women as I am a feminist. I am also white, largely English and middle class. If I was of colour, I might push that angle equally, and the same with other ‘minority’ statuses, for example if I was differently abled. All ‘minorities’ are welcome, but since I am one woman, and although middle class I am not moneyed, funded or without the need to make a living, I have to choose where my energies go.
I sometimes arrange ‘meet and chat’ sessions where new women are welcome to come and talk about the possibility of taking part, without the pressure of undressing. It can be helpful to talk through any concerns and anxieties face to face, and feel reassured that you are in good company and safe hands. If there is nothing scheduled, feel free to contact me (email@example.com) with any questions, or to register interest in a meeting. I sometimes make time to meet potential female models one to one if it lines up ok.
Really excited to announce our event in partnership with The Southbank Centre for Women of the World Festival on Sunday March 9th!
We will be in the Blue Room on the Spirit Level from 3pm – 5pm. The first 20 minutes will in fact be in the foyer outside the room where we will introduce what we do and you can hear some powerful testimonies. Men are welcome to this part; then once we go in the Blue Room, women only will be admitted. Let us know if you would like to bring children in – if they are quiet this may be fine. Similarly if you have a male carer and require assistance, there may be extenuating circumstances.
You will need a day pass for the festival to attend, unless you are one of our female models or artists, and have arranged to be on a guestlist. Tickets cost £12, £6 concession, and offer entry to numerous exciting events all day to celebrate International Womens’ Day. Alternatively splash out and get a weekend pass!
Some blurb to appetise:
Spirited Bodies invites women to come and try life modelling/drawing and hear the testimonies of women who have found transformational experiences through life modelling. Be professionally guided in a peaceful space, or just come to listen. Women model together as a group, poses lasting up to 20 minutes. Women only sessions always foster a strong, supportive vibe which is ripe for lasting empowerment. Art materials, robes, changing area and a warm, comfortable space to pose provided. If you have health concerns, inform us and we will do our utmost to accommodate you. Men welcome to the introduction.
Lastly, if you have modelled with us and would like to offer a vocal recording of your testimony, we are most grateful and will arrange a recording session with you. Please email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss or if you would like to be on the guestlist as a model or artist.
We can’t wait to see you there!
EXCITING NEW EVENT at SH! Women’s Erotic Emporium in Hoxton – Women’s Life Modelling & Drawing Workshop
On Thursday 7th November Spirited Bodies will run a women only clothed (in as much or as little as you like down to a bikini) art modelling workshop at Sh! Tickets cost £20 and can be booked here. This session is from 6:30 – 8:30pm. Women are welcome to come and draw, to model or to try a bit of both. Poses will be fairly short with plenty of guidance, and we may use some props. For more information see this blog post.
above image from recent event at St John’s Church in Waterloo with London Drawing for The Drawing Theatre; A Human Orchestration
On Thursday 3rd October 6 – 8pm, we welcome all women to come and meet the team at Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium, 57 Hoxton Square. London N1 6PB. We will be in the basement of the store, drop in at any time. We’ll be explaining how events and workshops work, as well as answering your questions. If you cannot get downstairs let staff know that you want our attention and we will join you upstairs. Link to event on Sh! site here.
Popular topics include:
- how to stay still
- baring all for the first time (when there may be bits of your body you hate)
- posing on your period or not!
- can you be anonymous for professional/cultural/family reasons? (yes)
- how to make an interesting pose (we may demonstrate with clothes on)
- disabilities & physical conditions which may limit posing (or make it more interesting)
- getting cold feet and overcoming that
- taking inspiration from figurative art (we bring books to show you)
- being nude in the company of strangers, even touching! (you do not have to touch which is minimal usually)
- having an emotional response to life modelling for the first time (it happens)
- becoming a professional life model
- types of poses for different bodies
- what artists often prefer in a pose
- how life modelling may improve sexual connection
On Wednesday 19th June we have a women only workshop in Brockley, 7 – 9pm. Artists as well as those wishing to model must be female. We will be at 104 – 6 Endwell Road, SE4 2LX. Bring a robe, loose dress or dressing gown if you want to try posing, all abilities catered for and taken into consideration.
We started Spirited Bodies for women originally, but since we opened it to men, they have not stopped responding! We are always looking for ways to reach more women so do get in touch if you have any feedback.