Women’s life modelling and drawing workshops with Claire Collison’s performance about breast cancer and living with a mastectomy.
October is breast cancer awareness month! We are celebrating with artist, writer and model Claire Collison, with whom we have collaborated on several occasions since 2015. Our events with her take place on:
- Saturday 5 October, 1pm to 4pm at
Metal, Chauffeurs Cottage, St Peters Road, Peterborough, PE1 1YX
- Saturday 19 October, 1pm to 4pm at
Metal, Tunnel Road, Liverpool, L7 6ND
See links for all details, including her ‘Intimate Tour of Breasts’ in both places, about a month prior to our workshops with her. All events are free but booking is essential.
Stories of Women
In the first half of these women-only events, a professional female model poses whilst talking about her life, her experiences and body image. Artists are encouraged to join in the discussion. After a break there’s a chance for artists to try posing with the model or as part of a group.
Women-only life modelling and drawing
Sometimes we offer the chance for women to discuss and demystify life modelling, in advance of trying it. Questions answered, advice given.
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.
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.
© Spirited Bodies 2016, photographs by www.lidialidia.com at Loving Bodies event, April ’16
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@
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 have any accessibility requirements?
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.
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