Creative Inspiration

Reborn in lockdown: meet the spiritual artist and holistic health practitioner Kathryn Welsh

1. I am talking to Kathryn, who is… [Tell me a little about yourself]

I’m a spiritual artist and recently a certified holistic health practitioner. I’m expanding my skills by following my calling to help people by studying intuitive healing, with hopes to eventually offer healing in person and remotely. 

2.  What is Light of Solstice? Where the idea came from?

Light Of Solstice is where art, spirituality and holism meet. The idea was in the making for many years, just without a name or particular direction. I’ve always been creative and found it to be therapeutic, and I’ve had spiritual experiences since I was a very young child, but kept a lot of that part hidden for fear of being mocked. I gravitated in and out of holistic health in my teenage years, looking into alternative healing methods I could do myself, as I struggled so badly with severe depression, an eating disorder and self-harm, that I  felt like all the therapy and antidepressants weren’t enough to help me. I was on and off medication until my early 20s and in and out of therapy until my mid-20s, with anxiety being a main struggle for me then. During the times when I was feeling well and functioning, I loved to read all I could about spirituality and wellness, and made an effort to practice the tips I read about. I found that as time passed, I kept moving forward and could manage my mental health much better. 

Though as life has its ups, it also has its downs. I spent many years of my life working towards my aim of being a tattoo artist – creating portfolios and apprenticing in a few studios. I was working in a custom studio for around 2 years when unfortunately things didn’t work out. I spent a good year or so of that dreading going to work. I was extremely stressed and anxious, in tears most mornings but still dragged myself there as I wanted to learn and create art on people. I was finding things challenging with feeling depressed at various degrees. One of the bosses knew how I was feeling as I did have time off for this reason, but he would go out his way to say unkind things to me and in many ways acted like a bully, even making my customers feel uncomfortable. It was around this time my spiritual practice became more frequent – with meditations, tarot/oracle card readings, using crystals to encourage healing etc. Although, understandably, my work did suffer, and even when the apprenticeship ended, I tried again in another studio, but the anxiety and stress were unimaginable and after just a couple weeks, I made the hard decision to not pursue tattooing anymore. My heart and soul was no longer in it. I believe that things happen for a reason, the Universe always has a plan. 

I barely drew for a year after that. I worked as a cleaner and took the time to heal and find me again. I continued with making wellness and spirituality a part of my daily life and found I gradually felt better.

I’m very lucky that my husband is patient with me – he’s happy to sit there for hours while I tell him about some amazing experiences I’ve had, or what I’ve been pondering. That’s when I first created my meditation artworks, to show him what I had seen as I couldn’t find the words. It was from this that my spiritual journey became the subject matter of my art. I wasn’t sure about being so open, but my lovely husband really gave me the encouragement I needed. So I started posting my work on social media and created a website and blog under my previous art name. I knew I wanted to somehow help people and do something with my art, spirituality, and the experiences I’ve had, and I felt it was confirmed to me when on our honeymoon I had an angel card reading. The reader was such a lovely woman, and had an incredible skill of knowing very specific things. She told me there was a light in me, and she saw me more as a healer than a reader. That reading gave me a lot to think about and some direction.

Roughly a year after that reading, I found myself in a 3-bed house we just moved into, a newborn and our one year wedding anniversary approaching. In the chaos of moving into a house and having our first child, I lost my spiritual and art practice. As the weeks wore on, the exhaustion, stress and difficulty of it all was getting overwhelming. I didn’t want to get to a point where I had been years before where I was too depressed to function.  I knew I had to take better care of myself and bring back that part of my life that I lost when I became a Mum and had a house to unpack on decorate. I set aside an hour a day to start meditating again, doing some yoga – I bought a new organiser (I LOVE stationery!) and began to journal how I was feeling, adjusting to the role of being a first time Mum and writing gratitudes each evening. Being on maternity leave gave me time to think about what I wanted to do with my life, and the more I adjusted as a Mum, as I held my baby, the more I learned about life. 

When my daughter was a few months old, I was set on the idea that I wanted to help people somehow – incorporating my art, sharing my spiritual journey and holistic health tips. When I got back to practicing wellness, spirituality and art, I began to feel brighter – I would look at my beautiful daughter and feel inspired, because there are wonderful things in life. That’s when I knew I had to ‘go for it’ , and help people with their spiritual and wellness journey, as my daughter has helped me with mine. She’s almost a year old now, and what a year it has been! The name Light Of Solstice was inspired by her – she is my light , and her name is Rose Solstice. 

3. What means art and creativity to you? 

It means so much to me, a deeply ingrained part of my life. I’m lucky to have creative parents and Grandparents. Growing up, Mum and Grandma taught me how to sew and knit, and Grandad made wooden toys for us such as a dollhouse, and let us play with his model train sets. Dad taught me how to read music and play the piano. My parents always encouraged my creativity – I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn the saxophone when I was young and had guitar lessons as a teenager. I loved to go to craft shops with Mum, and have tried many projects such as jewelry making, sculpture, dress making, painting… When I left school I studied textiles and have an HND in Fine Art. I love to express myself and explore the process. For me it’s a type of active meditation, I find it very soothing, and I love being able to link creativity with spirituality.

4. How the lockdown impacted your creative process? How did it affect your work? Did you approach things differently, explore new projects? 

My husband has been on furlough since the beginning of lockdown (and still is), so with him being at home, I’ve had a bit more time to be creative, though a little less space at the table with his work tools around! Work-wise, as I had been on maternity leave, I have been in a way living in my own little bubble, so it hasn’t directly affected my work all that much. The start of the lockdown gave me a push to launch my website and start creating content that could be helpful to people. I spent a lot of time discussing my ideas with my husband, and that’s when the idea of creating some mindful colouring sheets and other free content came about – I knew some people would find it very difficult being in lockdown and wanted to offer something to do that could help, even if it was a couple of minutes reading a blog post. If it took their mind away from the current difficulties and offered some advice and comfort, then it’s fulfilled my purpose. It has delayed ideas I’ve had about in-person interactions with oracle readings/healing and art fares in the local area, but I know it will happen in time. 

Although, the extra creative time has spurred me on to work on my biggest project yet – an oracle deck. It’s in the very early stages, as I’ve been experimenting and creating the artwork, but it’s very exciting! I just need more hours in the day!

5. What is your biggest challenge at this time of the global pandemic? 

I think it is managing the extra stress. I didn’t realise how much I depended on my daily browse round the local shops, weekly visits to the library and the baby groups, just that sense of freedom. I’m quite introverted so when lockdown started I thought I would be ok, but after a couple weeks I felt stressed and frustrated from seeing the same walls and felt stuck. We were worried about exposure to our baby, so I even missed going on the weekly shop – my husband couldn’t stay home with our daughter as I can’t drive. I find that if my stress levels are too high, I struggle to be inspired, concentrate and feel spiritually connected, so have to be mindful to my emotions and not feel guilty for taking an evening off. 

6. How about the biggest lesson you learned during this time? 

How now, more then ever, we need to be good to each other and take care of our environment. Modern life is so face paced, there’s always something demanding our attention, that we miss so much of the little things. We need to slow down – at the beginning of lock down, the earth was recovering from less pollution. With clubs and bars closed, it seemed like everyone was turning to craft projects and baking. Children being off school has given families more time together (and more stress from what I’ve heard from friends and family!) There has been an opportunity to live slow and careful, and get to know ourselves and those in our households better. I think it has shown how important community is – from our family network to all those who live in our local areas. 

7. What is your favourite spiritual practice and how it helps you take care of yourself? 

I’m a big fan of salt baths. It’s something I’ve been able to re-introduce into my week over the past few months from an extensive weekly physical and energetic cleansing routine I had before becoming a mum. I like to do mindful breathing while I lay there, imagining all negative energies being washed away – I do feel much more grounded and calm after. I love to do a simple short meditation before bed too, often using a crystal to help with releasing the day to get the rest I need. I practice gratitude as well – If I don;t have my journal to hand I mentally list 3 things I’m grateful for, it really does help shift my mind to a positive outlook. 

8. Where can we find you? Online and offline 🙂 

I can always be found at www.lightofsolstice.co.uk as well as over on instagram @lightofsolstice . My Etsy shop is always open where you can find original artwork and handmade gifts at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/lightofsolstice

I hope to be around at events in the near future too 🙂