Yessica's Journey Blog

Welcome to the Yessica's Journey Blog Site, a Journey through Mental Health, Wellbeing and Creativity.


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Collecting Yessica Puppet Heads from David Neat

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved Please do not copy/download images or text.

David Neat in his Studio

I was so excited as I travelled down to London to see David Neat who has made Yessica’s Heads for the Stop Motion Puppet in ‘Yessica’s Journey’. She looks amazing and David has done a fantastic job of creating her, she looks so beautiful. It was so lovely to see her come to life and finally her heads are finished. Seeing all my designs and hard work finally finished was a very special moment for me. I have changed her design many times over the years, her design often reflecting the emotional mood I was in. I have noticed how when I was really unwell my drawings and designs are quite different to when I am feeling more well. She started off being quite abstract and strange-looking but I realised that some of my ideas would not work for the wider audience so I kept some of my original ideas and modified it.

David is an extremely talented Sculptor, Model Maker and teacher and I am very lucky to have met him. He has made the set for the animation which looks amazing. I managed to pusade him to make her heads as he had never made a puppet head before and the budget was very small for the amount of work and time he has given to it.  He is also very busy with his own art and teaching commitments. It was a challenge for him and he learnt many new techniques. He spent a lot of time on it and managed to solve many difficult problems in making her. One of her heads was particularly hard to make.

I would like to thank David Neat for all the hard work he has put into this project, his time and commitment and his attention to detail. I will always be grateful to him, he is a very kind man and I don’t think anyone else would have cared as much as he has about making her and the set to such a high standard. His passion for his work shines though her and I hope he is as proud of her as I am.

Testing Yessica Armature on Perforated Metal Sheet

Testing Yessica Armature on Perforated Metal Sheet

Unfortunately I can’t show her or the designs until 6/8 months before the film is due to be completed in 2016 but I can assure everyone that you will be impressed with the high standard and quality of his work. Without David I don’t think the animation would look as professional and without his help and commitment to the project I would have really struggled. He has created my ideas beautifully and to see everything come to life has truly been special to me.

I have not been the easiest person to work with either and David has always been very patient with me and I have no idea how he has put up with me at times. Often I would come up with so many ideas, change my mind a lot and I was always behind and late with getting designs to David which caused so many delays.

When I got her back I only had a few days to test out the heads on the armature as I then had to take her back to London for Fiona Barty to make her body and Costume. It was great to finally do some stop motion animation just for testing to make sure everything was working and see any problems there may be with animating her.

The set and puppets will all be used hopefully in training workshops, events, exhibitions and will permanently go on display. It will be used to inspire people both in Mental Health, Education and Art. I hope it also encourages creativity in people and a passion for their work whatever medium that may be.

Thank you David.

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Meeting with David Neat about designs for Yessicas Head

© Copyright 2013 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download text or images.

I went down to London to see David Neat who is making Yessica’s Heads to discuss my designs for the character. I spent quite a long time designing her heads and have redesigned her many times from my initial ideas. I think she has improved a lot and I am really pleased with the final designs.

David Neat in his studio in London

David Neat in his studio in London

David is the sculptor and modelmaker for Yessica’s Heads and is a professional highly experienced modelmaker. He made the set for the animation which looks amazing. He has never made a puppet head before so it was quite a challenge for him and I am so pleased he agreed to make her. He had started to make the sculpts which look brilliant and it was very exciting to see her coming to life. David is very talented and is a perfectionist which shows in all of his work, the attention to detail on the heads is amazing and I can’t thank him enough for his hard work.

IMG_0791

David working in his studio

Anastacia holding the sculpts of Yessica's heads which David has made, sorry not going to show you what they look like, you will have to wait and see

Anastacia holding the sculpts of Yessica’s heads which David has made, they looked like chocolate lolipops on sticks. Sorry can’t show you anything yet hence the blobs of white.

David Neat Model Maker © 2012 Astrid Baerndal Photo taken during a workshop David was giving at the National Gallery.

David Neat Model Maker © 2012 Astrid Baerndal Photo taken during a workshop David was giving at the National Gallery.


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Article about New Bipolar UK Self Help Group in Norwich for Mind Associates Magazine

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. Screenshot from Mind Associates Magazine Simon Barker. Quotes from Chris Stokes, Gemma Nicholls and Janet Conway

Bipolar UK Website

Norwich Bipolar UK Self Help Group Contact – norwich@bipolarukgroups.org.uk

Screenshot from the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Associates Magazine showing article about the new self help group which I organised

I was thrilled to be asked by Simon Barker to write an article for the Mind Associates Magazine about the new Bipolar UK Self Help Group in Norwich.  Simon is a Mind First Aid Manager and Mind Associate for the Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind organisation. See screenshot above of final article which looks great.
I decided to ask the Facilitator of the group who first initiated the idea to have a group in Norwich to write the main piece for the article – Chris Stokes. I also asked Gemma Nicholls who is also helping to facilitate the group for a quote and Janet Conway who is the Group Development Officer at Bipolar UK.  I organised the article and was pleased to have it published in the magazine.
I am so pleased that a group like this has been set up in Norwich and it will help many people who have Bipolar as well as their families, friends and carers. I wish the group well and I know it will be a huge success. The turnout for the first meeting was well attended. Unfortunately I can’t attend the meetings but I have joined the mailing list which will keep me informed of what the group is doing. They intend getting interesting speakers at some of their group meetings and have invited Maggie Wheeler, Chair of the NHS Trust and Janet Conway from Bipolar UK to talk at the next meeting in October.
Below is the article I helped to organise which you can read more clearly for further information.

22/8/2012 Article for ‘Associates Magazine’ Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind 398 words

New Norwich Bipolar UK Self-Help Group

Bipolar UK Logo

First Meeting 6th September 6.30pm-8.30pm
Meetings:  First Thursday of each month
Quaker (Friends) Meeting House
Upper Goat Lane
Norwich NR2 1EW
For further information contact Chris Stokes and Gemma Nicholls at: norwich@bipolarukgroups.org.uk
Bipolar UK Website:  www.bipolaruk.org.uk

Chris Stokes: Group Facilitator

‘The Quaker (Friends) Meeting House is conveniently situated in the heart of the city and the room which we shall use for our meetings is comfortable and easily accessible on the ground floor.’

‘When I was diagnosed with bipolar last year after 30 years of misdiagnosis, what I really wanted most of all wasn’t to read books about bipolar or to look at websites about bipolar, but to meet somebody with bipolar and ask some questions. How would I cope? Is bipolar a death sentence? What are the medications like? But when I tried to find a bipolar group in Norwich, I realised there wasn’t one. That’s why I decided to start one. I believe that our new group, organised as part of the wonderful national charity Bipolar UK, will be a huge asset to Norwich and a lifeline for people with bipolar, their carers and their families.’

‘Anyone whose life is affected by bipolar is welcome at our meetings.  You can attend as many or as few meetings as you like, you’re free to leave whenever you want, and you don’t have to speak if you don’t feel like it, although everyone will have the opportunity to do so.’

Gemma Nicholls: Group Facilitator

‘The planning meeting held in July was well attended so this bodes well for the future of the group and shows just how important and needed a self help group is in Norwich. There was a lot of positive energy in the room to make this a success and the turnout suggests that the group will become invaluable for many people affected by bipolar. I look forward to the start.’

Janet Conway: Group Development Officer at Bipolar UK

‘We at Bipolar UK are delighted that a new self-help group for people affected by the bipolar condition is being launched in Norwich. As the only national charity dedicated to supporting people affected by bipolar, we rely a great deal on the willing volunteers who run our national network of self-help groups, and who do so much to raise awareness of the condition and to support people in their own communities.’


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Peter Gianfrancesco from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind and his sister Maureen visit – Yessica’s Journey Animation Project

Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind with his sister Maureen from Australia and Anastacia

Peter Gianfrancesco, Chief Executive from Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind with his sister Maureen from Australia and Anastacia

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind Website

Peter Gianfrancesco who is the Chief Executive at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind and his sister Maureen from Australia visited me yesterday to see the progress of the Yessica’s Journey Animation project. Peter is one of my Mentors representing Mind who has also supported the project with funding, help and advise.

I really enjoyed showing them both all the work which has been completed so far. They were both very encouraging and seemed impressed with what has been achieved so far. Thanks to both of them for coming to see me and the Yessica’s Journey Animation project and for being so supportive.


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Meeting with Charlie Gauvain

Charlie and Anastacia

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill, Yessica’s Journey Blog. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

Eye Film and Television Website

Charlie Gauvain is the new ‘Production Manager’ for the project and works as an Executive Producer at Eye Film and TV (see earlier blog for more information about charlie.  We met today for a meeting to discuss the new ‘Yessica’s Journey’ Schedule plan, Financial Plan and Contract. The meeting went well and Charlie and I will be meeting on a regular basis once a month.

Charlie’s main role is to support, advise and assist me with the project. This will include financial, planning a schedule, marketing, DVD authoring, advise on production and monitoring the progression of the project and ensure that the film is produced on time and within budget.

Charlie’s knowledge and experience of working in Film and TV for many years will be very beneficial to myself and the project and I look forward to working with him.


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Yessica’s Journey Exhibited at the Upstairs Gallery in Beccles presenting StigmARTa Exhibition of work – May 16th – 31st

Upstairs Gallery in Beccles Website

StigmARTa Exhibition – ‘A thought provoking look at arts and service users, arts and their uses in therapy and inclusion, and people’s opinions of the words Mental Health and the stigmas attached.’ ‘Arts are used in the mental health service to bring confidence and voluntary communication back into the public life and work situations for mental health users.’ {quote taken from Michelle Payne Upstairs Gallery)

The Upstairs Gallery in Beccles – StigmARTa Exhibition

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

I was thriled to be given the opportunity of exhibiting some of my artwork at the Gallery. I displayed two Illustrations from the Yessica’s Journey project – Dawn Light and the Yessica Character. The Gallery is fantastic, and it was lovely to meet the staff including Michelle who is very passionate about Art, Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Development of Yessica Character for ‘Yessica’s Journey’ – Mixed Media

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

The exhibition is so important in educating the public about Mental Health and the Discrimination and Stigma associated with it. Using Art and Creativity for wellbeing and confidence is something I feel very passionately about.

‘Dawn Light’. Mixed Media, Traditional with Digital

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.

The work displayed is fantastic and I recommend a visit to the Gallery to see the Exhibition. It is very inspiring to see so many talented artists who are helping to educate through creativity and challenge stigma.
The Gallery also exhibits many artists work which can be purchased. Thank you to Michelle Payne for giving me this opportunity and for organising an exhibition on Mental Health which I think is fantastic.


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Insight Magazine Article – Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Yessica’s Journey Exhibited at the Fruits of Mind Exhibition

The Well Artists Website

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Website – Insight Magazine

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © Copyright – Some text and screenshots taken from the Insight Magazine from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

‘More than 40 artists with mental health problems exhibited their work at the annual Fruits of the Mind exhibition in Norwich. The exhibition, organised jointly with the Well artists’ collective – took place at the Forum. Around £500 worth of artwork was sold, comprising around one picture in every five. Many artists were exhibiting for the first time, and some were delighted to collect cash rather than their paintings at the end of the week.’

‘Many encouraging comments were left in the visitors’ book, and the curators from the Well had many interesting discussions with members of the public about mental health and art.’

‘If you would like to be involved in organising the next exhibition, or setting up an artists’ co-operative in your locality, contact helen.simpson@nwmhp.nhs.uk
You can find out more about the Well by visiting www.thewellartists.co.uk’
(Quotes and text taken from Spring Insight Magazine Article – © Copyright Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust)

I exhibited 2 pieces of Artwork at the Fruits of the Mind exhibition last year. To see blog article and Artwork displayed please click on link  (Blog Article of Fruits of the Mind Exhibition 10th-14th October at the Forum Norwich)

Yessica’s First Character Design which I exhibited can be seen in the Insight Magazine Article. She is just peeping through in the background which I thought was quite good. I was thrilled to see her there. See screenshot below taken from the Insight Magazine. I have added text to show the Illustration in the background.

Artists Exhibit Fruits of the Mind Exhibition including Yessica’s Journey

The NHS and the Well do a fantastic job of displaying artists work who have experienced mental health difficulties. I was thrilled to be involved. It was great to be given the opportunity and this is the first time I have exhibited my artwork so it meant a lot to me.

Screenshot of Insight Magazine Cover

Above is a screenshot of the Cover of the Insight Magazine from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Images of Maggie Wheeler who is the Chair and Aidan Thomas who is the Chief Executive.

The Insight Magazine is published on a quarterly basis and can be downloaded from the website. For more information and to contribute an article please phone the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust – Trust Communications on 01603 421494 | email: communications@nsft.nhs.uk

You can become a member of the Trust and can receive the magazine in printed format as well as downloadable format. Please visit Membership at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust



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BBC Mental Health Website

BBC Mental Health Website

I found this really good BBC website on Mental Health and Wellbeing. It is really informative and interesting and has a wealth of information about Mental Health Difficulties, Coping Techniques, Therapies, Medication and lots of useful links and contacts to other organisations. Click on Link above.

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text.


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Giant Puppets in Liverpool

Link to BBC Video on Giant Puppets

My friend Ella Goodwin forwarded me this link to the BBC News about the Giant Puppets in Liverpool. Please see link above, it is amazing.

‘More than 250,000 people are expected to watch as three giant puppets play out a piece of city-straddling street theatre over three days in Liverpool this weekend. A 30ft girl, a dog the size of a van and a deep sea diver taller than most buildings are part of the entertainment called “Sea Odyssey”.’ (Quote taken from BBC News Article 20th April 2012)

Large puppet In Liverpool. Sceenshot taken from BBC News Article Video

© Copyright 2012 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images or text. © BBC News Article 2012, screenshot from Website.


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Exciting News – The Wellcome Trust has given additional funding to the Yessica’s Journey Animation Project

The Wellcome Trust Website

© Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images/text.

FANTASTIC NEWS for 2012 The Wellcome Trust has kindly given additional funding to the
‘Yessica’s Journey’ Animation Project – Thank You.

In March 2012 Yessica’s Journey’ has been successful in applying for additional funding from the Wellcome Trust. They have kindly given a substantial sum of money in addition to their original funding for the project. I would like to thank Marie-Lise Sheppard who is the Grants Advisor and works in Grants Management for her support, help and understanding. I would also like to thank the Wellcome Trust organisation for its continued support and for believing in this project.

Anastacia Tohill, Director/Producer and Animator for the project and Charlie Gauvain who is the new Support Coordinator for the project and works as a Producer/Executive Producer at Eye Film and TV  successfully put in an application in January 2012 to apply for additional funding. Oz Osborne, Wellbeing Mentor and one of the Scriptwriters for the project and works at Time to Change also contributed to the funding application. I would like to thank Charlie and Oz for all their support and help and also to welcome Charlie to the project in his new role.

I would also like to thank the following people and organisations for their continued help and for their supportive Testimonials which we sent with the funding application form. Thank you for your kind words, encouragement and time.

Oz Osborne – Rural Equalities Coordinator with Time to Change and Freelance Community Wellbeing Mentor
Peter Gianfrancesco – Chief Executive at Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind
Peter Edge – The Wellbeing Service at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Maggie Wheeler – Chair of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Roz Brooks – Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Safety, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Michel SyrettEditor, Pendulum Magazine Bipolar UK
Clare Dolman – Research Editor Pendulum and Chair of the National Bipolar Charity Bipolar UK (formerly MDF the Bipolar Organisation)
Dr Ian Jones – Reader in Perinatal Psychiatry, MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics,Department of Psychological Medicine and Neurology BDRN Research Network

I appreciate all the organisations continued support with the project and everyone in the project team who has helped with the ‘Yessica’s Journey’ project. We also sent the Script Feedback document which many people contributed to last year with the application. Thank you again to everyone who contributed to the Script Feedback Document.

Many Thanks to Everyone
Anastacia


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Exciting News for Yessica’s Journey – Visiting Nathan at Aardman Animations

© Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images/text.

Aardman Animations Website

On the 25th and 26th of October I was very excited to be asked by Nathan Sale to visit Aardman Animations in Bristol. He is the Head of Lighting and has kindly offered to help me with advice on purchasing lighting and camera equipment for the Yessica’s Journey Project. He has also offered a great deal of support and his professional expertise. I am so thrilled to have been given this amazing opportunity and I would like to thank Nathan for his kindness, interest and his support with the project. Please read below for more details about my visit.

Anastacia at Aardman with Wallace and Gromit

Aardman Character

I had a fantastic time at Aardman Animations and loved every minute of it. Nathan showed me around the studios and it was so interesting to see how all the animations are created. It really is incredible to see how everything is made, the time, effort, attention to detail and expertise which goes into making these animations is just amazing. I feel very privileged to have been given this opportunity and it has given me a lot of inspiration to work hard and keep going on the Yessica’s Journey Project. I also saw Nick Park who is the creator of Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep – this was great.

Nathan Sale, Head of Lighting at Aardman Animations

Morph is one of my all time favourite characters. I loved watching him with Tony Hart as a child in the seventies. I met him in real life for the first time, here he is below.

Characters from Aardman including Morph

After my visit to Aardman I had time to look around the City of Bristol which I really enjoyed. I walked around the river and there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky which I managed to take a photo of. Rainbows symbolise good and are a positive sign – a new beginning, transformation and growth. I really liked Bristol, it is a very warm and friendly place and it is the first time I have ever been. I also managed to visit the Cathedral and talked to a really nice woman called Elizabeth Mellor who is the Lay Minister.

Bristol Docks with Beautiful Rainbow

Bristol Temple Meads Station with Beautiful Rainbow

Nathan gave me a lovely gift, a walking Shaun the Sheep, which I love. He is so cute, I am going to use him as a little mascot to keep me going on this very long project – I have a lot of animating to do.

Gift from Nathan, a walking Shaun the Sheep

Shaun the Sheep in Reception at Aardman

© Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images/text.

Below is a slideshow of images from my trip, including images at Aardman and around Bristol. See blog below for images from Aardman trip in slideshow.

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Slideshow of visit to meet Nathan at Aardman Animations

© Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or download images/text.

Aardman Animations Website

Below are images I took of my visit to Aardman Animations in Bristol to see Nathan Sale who is the Head of Lighting. Nathan is kindly helping me with advice on purchasing Lighting and Camera Equipment for my project Yessica’s Journey. See blog above for more written details of visit.

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Fruits of the Mind Exhibition 10-14th October at the Forum Norwich

‘Dragon Wing Faery’. Mixed Media, Traditional with Digital.

© Copyright 2011 Anastacia Tohill. All rights reserved. All moral right reserved Please do not copy, duplicate or download images/text.

The images above are in the Fruits of the Mind exhibition at the Forum in Norwich from 10th-14th October. The Fruits of the Mind Exhibition is to showcase local artists who have experienced mental ill health and is being organised by NHS Hellesdon Hospital. I am very excited to showcase this work as I do not often exhibit. This is the first time I am selling my work except the illustration of Yessica. This is also a chance to promote the project ‘Yessica’s Journey’.

The illustrations are mainly mixed media combining traditional with digital. The illustrations are hand drawn in pencil and ink and then scanned into the computer. Hand painted textures of watercolour and marbling techniques are used to colour and texture the illustrations. The image is enhanced and composited in Adobe Photoshop digitally.

The ‘Dawn Light’ illustration has been specially created for this exhibition and is about my experience of mental ill health and recovery.