Hyde Heath Evening WI
PRESIDENT, Elaine Barker, welcomed everyone including one visitor, to the meeting on a lovely summer’s evening. She also welcomed the speaker, Keith Jansz and his wife, Cindy, who spoke very enthusiastically about the history of the Mouth & Foot Painting Artists Association.
Arnulf Erich Stegmann was born in 1912 in Germany. When he was two years old he developed polio and lost the use of both arms. His artistic talents were recognized and supported by his teachers and he soon became proficient at painting using his mouth.
He struggled to live through the difficulties of the war in Nazi Germany and was imprisoned for 18 months for being outspoken as an enemy of the State. However, in1956 his vision to form a self help group of disabled artists came to fruition and he became the first president of the association.
In 1995 our speaker Keith suffered a broken neck in a car accident which left him paralysed from the shoulders down and is now wheelchair bound. After six months in Stoke Mandeville hospital, his mother gave him a book called Painters First with biographies of the Mouth & Foot Painting Artists.
Keen to encourage him, his wife Cindy arranged a meeting with the mouth artist Trevor Wells, who persuaded Keith to try painting with his mouth.
Despite disastrous early efforts in, 1998 Keith was accepted as a student artist in the organisation, becoming a full member in 2000 and now his prints and work have been exhibited and sold around the world.
He uses a sports mouth guard attached to a bent arrow with brushes fitted on the end. He brought along a variety of examples of his work, which were astonishing, filled with light and atmosphere.
The Association supports not only disabled artists but other charities too such as the RNLI.
Whilst consuming a delicious tea, Elaine gave a very big thank you to everyone who had helped by donating cakes and help at the fete, and also to Sylvia Childs for a beautiful arrangement in the St Andrew’s Flower Festival. The largest amount ever was raised, £815, towards the Village Hall and a lovely letter of thanks for the WI’s efforts had been received from David Coulton, who also thanked us for the contribution towards the defibrillator.
The Summer Evening Ramble is on July 6 meeting at 6pm for a 6.15pm start to the walk and returning about 7.45pm for supper in St Andrew’s Church. The indoor barbecue is on August 11 at 6.30pm. Also on October 1 there will be a wine tasting with light supper. Family and friends are very welcome to all these events.
If anyone has a recipe or two which can be included in the Hyde Heath WI Cookbook, please send them to Vanessa Culmer.
Julia Thornton, who works with the organisation across the county, told us about the work of Buckinghamshire Mind, which we are supporting this year.
The next meeting will be on July 14 when Paul Rabbitt will give a talk entitled Bandstands – Decline & Revival. The competition is a Musical Instrument.