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Art has been instrumental in giving Lou strength, courage and resilience, and a big reason to live after a life of significant adversity.  Her talents extend to drawing, painting, knitting, creating collages and beautiful hand made cards.

Lou moved to Melbourne when she was 12.

Lou’s creativity expressed itself early at school, but because Lou didn’t consider herself academic she was embarrassed by her early attempts at art.

After school Lou returned to art and did several art courses in both Melbourne and Tasmania, majoring in leatherwork and spinning and weaving. For a time Lou worked for the Island Work Education Program teaching leatherwork to young students at risk, but after leaving this job she worked in various factories for several years.

It was during this time that Lou was admitted to hospital after taking an overdose of sleeping pills. As Lou describes, it was a time when she felt stuck, and wasn’t coping.  It would be a year later when in hospital again, at age 33, that Lou learnt she had schizophrenia.

A dark period followed for Lou for the next five years, during which she drank heavily and spent much of her time alone. Without the right medication, Lou experienced long periods of delusion and considered herself beyond help. Eventually, Lou was re-admitted to hospital, after which a major turning point was being prescribed anti-psychotic medication.

Another major factor in Lou’s recovery was rediscovering her love of art while undertaking counselling and art therapy. This was also a way for Lou to gain an understanding that her condition stemmed in part from a time when she was raped as a child.

As Lou says “I gave up smoking and drinking and my creative life accelerated. I began to live and respect myself, to empower myself, and love what I do and create. My art is conducive to better mental health; I would be lost without my art and craft. I find my art inspires and fulfills me –  a good reason to live”.

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