Interview: Maria Hayes

What are the aims of you art workshops?

The aims are to give participants an experience of the creative process as I understand it, social contact whilst doing it and a boost to their self-esteem and self-knowledge.

How do you think being visually creative is beneficial to people?

It beneficial because it is literally “there” – you can see it and refer back to it even if creating it is rooted in experiential processes.

Do people taking part in your workshops surprise themselves?

All the time.

Do you find being creative helpful to your own mental health?


In your life, who has had the biggest influence on you?

There is no one person or artist – influences vary as I develop and grow. Picasso is a constant though I suppose. This year I’ve been very excited by Frida Kahlo and Gwen John. There is also a wonderful book called “Impro” by Keith Johnston that I return to because he has a gift for understanding spontaneity and creativity.

What is your greatest achievement?

Staying sane, staying creative and staying out of debt!

What three words best describe you?

Passionate, enquiring and bloody minded!

What makes you happy?

Friends, laughing, walking in the country and on a beach, nature generally, not needing to worry about money, painting and drawing and making things, playing and listening to music, dancing, my cats.