Crayons and companions

August 28 2015

WHO said that colouring-in was just for children?

WHO said that colouring-in was just for kids?

Certainly not Bishopston resident Valerie Hall, who has set up a Facebook group for adults to share their carefully coloured masterpieces with one another.  

Colouring books for adults have grown in popularity in recent years, and have become recognised as a helpful way to combat stress and anxiety.

So much so, that at one point, five out of 10 top selling books on Amazon were adult colouring books.

But Valerie is also using colouring-in to unite people across the world – allowing them to build friendships and share stories.

Valerie, 60, said: “I thought to myself, ‘wouldn’t it be fun to set up a colouring-in group?’, so I put the message out on Facebook to see if anyone would be interested, and loads of people ended up getting back to me, saying that they would like to join.”

The group – which was set up two months ago – has over 120 members, with people of different ages, joining from as far as Australia and the USA. Valerie says that she receives around 10 requests a day, but only allows people to join who share a genuine interest in colouring-in.

Besides the group being a hub of conversation, coloured-in postcards are exchanged between members, with personal messages written on the reverse.

“It’s turned out to be absolutely brilliant – everyone is getting to know one another now, and we’ve even had people meeting up for coffees and colouring-in sessions.”

A scrapbook, created by Valerie, is full of postcards sent to her by group members – many referring to her as a “wonderful”, “caring” and “inspiring” woman, and thanking her for setting up the group. She has also received plants and bouquets of flowers as signs of gratitude.

“I’ve had people joining the group who are ill, living alone, or experiencing issues in their lives – it’s given them something fun to focus on and enjoy.  

“The group is a great way for members to not only share their colouring-in, but to also share how they’re feeling, and cheer each other up.”

Valerie has always had an interest in arts and crafts – she sells homemade cards at Room 212 gallery in Gloucester Road – and it was in January, after her leaving her job at Almondsbury Garden Centre, that she discovered her first colouring-in book in Waterstones.

With over 20 now on her shelf, Valerie says that she finds it almost impossible to walk past a book shop or art store without buying a new colouring book.

 “We’re living in world where it’s all computers and technology, but I think just to sit and do something like this is lovely – and affordable.

“It’s going right back to basics. It’s something which is relaxing and there are no rules – you can go outside the lines and you can use any colour you like. There’s also a book out there for everyone.”

Valerie Hall