Retford: Inspirational Janet is now a published author

Art student Janet Hayes (left) and local artist and illustrator Helen Silcock with copies of Janet's first book, Flowers By Design
Art student Janet Hayes (left) and local artist and illustrator Helen Silcock with copies of Janet's first book, Flowers By Design

Retford art student Janet Hayes has published an illustrated technical ‘How to’ book called Flowers by Design with support and encouragement from her tutor, local artist and illustrator Helen Silcock.

Janet is a lady of senior years who claims she has never been able to draw and hadn’t even switched on a PC until three years ago.

And her family all agree her achievements are astonishing.

“It all started when one of my eldest grandchildren Gemma was going abroad for her GAP year,” recalled Janet.

“I knew if I couldn’t use a computer, I wouldn’t be able to stay in touch.”

Janet learned to use a computer but said to Helen one day ‘I want to learn what I want to learn, not what they want to teach me’.

And so Helen started showing Janet how to use software to create designs from Janet’s own artwork.

After a few weeks, Helen noticed how diligent Janet was writing down notes and instructions.

And together they agreed to do the job properly and publish a manual that other students and learners might use.

“All the ideas came from Janet,” said Helen.

“She kept asking ‘how do I do this?’”

“So the whole two-year journey has been completely ‘learner-led’ and recorded for other artists to be inspired by.”

“I am especially proud of the fact that all the photos, illustrations and artwork in the book are Janet’s.”

Helen’s studio is based at Courtyard Galleries behind the Rum Runner Pub on Wharf Road which is taking part in the county-wide Open Studios Notts event.

The galleries will be open every weekend and bank holiday during May.

They will also be open on the first two weekends in June showcasing the work of more than 15 local artists.

Helen will be hosting ‘mixed media taster sessions’ on 9th and 10th May.

And Kenny Roach will be holding Steam Punk workshops on 13th and 14th June.

Call 07763 111694 or visit www.retford.wix.com/galleries for details.