There is a growing body of compelling evidence which supports the use of art therapies in the treatment of mental illness. Research reveals the significant benefits derived from various forms of art as therapy, including the visual arts and crafts, music, and dance/movement. The process of planning and development for REDHOUSE included research on the application of art therapies specifically to eating disorders, yielding positive results. We chose to include art and music groups in our service provision due to the positive nature of these disciplines as expressive tools. While in many mental health milieus the arts are used merely as "distractions", RED HOUSE incorporates creativity as much more. We do not encourage distraction techniques as a part of treatment - we believe they are unsatisfactory because we want to help people to recover, not simply learn to "manage" their anxieties and illness. Our creative community offers so much more than "distraction".


(You can find a plethora of articles on the benefits of various forms of art therapy, for the treatment of mental illness in general, and specifically for eating disorders, at Taylor and Francis Online

“Vision and Voice”

We have called our Creative Community “Vision and Voice” as this reflects the focus on both the visual arts (read more below), and music, offered through the community choir. Furthermore, we aim to use the creative community as a “voice” to raise awareness about the facts surrounding eating disorders, and the need for new and improved treatment options. Together we can use creativity as a voice to create change!

Vision: This is the RED HOUSE creative community visual arts group which will include various projects.

Voice: This is the RED HOUSE choir. We have not yet started  this group as we are assessing interest levels. If you would be interested in being a part of the RED HOUSE Community Choir in the near future please register your  interest here. The  more interest we receive the sooner it will go ahead!

About The Red House Creative Community

Following the Social Sunday Lunch, each week we will offer a 3-hour Creative Community group (1.30pm-4.30pm) focusing on the visual arts. This is aimed at promoting art and creativity as an important tool for self-expression, social connection and relaxation. The group is open to everyone, regardless of experience or skill level. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!! Come along and crochet, knit, create a patchwork quilt, draw, colour, paint mandala rocks, write, or bring your own project.  Learn from others or, if you already have creative skills, teach others! If you do not wish to participate in creating something you are still welcome to come just for the company, with afternoon tea/coffee from the RED HOUSE Coconut Chai Café available from 3-4pm (all included in cost of Social Sunday Lunch - register here).

Creativity Creates Change

Note that the creative community group follows the Social Sunday Lunch and is open to the first 15 people to register each week - register here. As a creative community we will work on the following projects:

  • The "Aprons Against Anorexia" Project - In the Nourish to Flourish Program we are putting on our aprons and learning to cook highly nutritious meals in the fight to beat anorexia!! Come and sew or crochet your own designer apron to wear at the "Nourish to Flourish" program!! As a group we will work on making 1000 aprons to sell at a cooking fundraiser involving celebrity chefs, to raise funds for the RED HOUSE Residential Clinic.

  • World's biggest Yarn Garden - Help us to create the world's biggest garden made of yarn!! Come along to the Sunday creative groups and be a part of this exciting “yarn bombing” project!! As a part of the world biggest garden made of yarn we aim to make 1 million cherry blossom flowers to symbolise the  (approximate) 1 million Australians who battle with an diagnosed eating disorder. Our goal is to hold an exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) to raise greater awareness of eating disorders, and to raise funds for the RED HOUSE residential facility. 


The cherry blossom flower was chosen as the symbol for RED HOUSE because I felt that no other flower could be a better representative of those battling with an eating disorder - each blossom represents a person who is battling.  The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. When it blooms to mark the beginning of Spring it is a symbol of hope, new beginnings, and the beauty of life, however its short life also serves as a reminder of the fragility of life. Choosing the cherry blossom as the flower to represent our organisation is a way of "giving" those tenets to those battling the stranglehold of an eating disorder. Further, the cherry blossom fits in with the other inspirations that we have derived from Japanese culture (see Japanese Influences). Come along and learn how to make cherry blossoms, other flowers, vegetables, butterflies, and garden creatures!! 



  • "Quilt Quest" - a display of patchwork blankets (made of either yarn or fabric). The aim will be to raise awareness about the inadequacies of and “patchiness” of the current mental health system. In particular, we aim to highlight how mental health hospital units merely “patch” people up and send them home, thus creating a “revolving door” cycle where people relapse and end up back in hospital. Furthermore, the exhibition would highlight the significance of a blanket. A simple blanket can represent many things, including warmth, care, comfort and security. These are emotional elements that many people with eating disorders feel are lacking in their lives. Both of these notions would be reflected in the title of this first creative project and exhibition: “More than a Patch”. If you are interested in being a part of this please come along to our creative community groups!

  • Christmas exhibition - Christmas is a difficult time for many people with eating disorders and other mental health issues. As a group we will work toward holding an annual Christmas themed exhibition with the aim of breaking isolation and deriving some pleasure from Christmas.

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

Pablo Picasso

It is recognised that many people who develop eating disorders poses creative talents in one form or another. Art is also something that can be done in a social/group setting which adds benefit to the experience. The purpose of our Creative Community is to encourage social interaction while being engaged in projects that with meaning and purpose. Our groups encourage self-expression with intent to give you a "voice" through the creative process. Art can help to heal hearts and minds!

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©  Website created by Mary Jane Lawson. Updated 2019.