Life purpose found in art

David SalvaireSound Telegraph

Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Sue Edge has discovered a creative side that has sparked a flurry of poetry and colour in her Meadow Springs home.

After working as a primary school teacher for 36 years, Ms Edge said her diagnosis in 2010 dealt a blow to her confidence.

“I felt like I lost my identity after I had to leave work,” she said.

“Suddenly, I wasn’t a teacher anymore and I felt really useless but art helped me rediscover some purpose.”

A side effect of her treatment often results in compulsive behaviour, which has manifested in a range of creative works from painting to sculpture and poetry.

While she struggles with mobility problems on the right side of her body, Ms Edge said she felt a strong drive to keep creating.

“My hands work well for about 40 minutes every four or five hours, so I have to do everything in those moments,” she said. “There are tough times and I’ve had meltdowns but you’ve just got to pick yourself up and get on with it.

“I used to get frustrated because I had all these visions in my head and I couldn’t put them on the paper but now it’s just pouring out.”

As well as her artwork, Ms Edge keeps an online blog detailing her struggles with the disease and wants to release a book about Parkinson’s written with the help of her grandchildren.

As part of yesterday’s World Parkinson’s Day event, Ms Edge donated a painting to Parkinson’s WA, which chief executive Brenda Matthews said had brightened the not-for-profit group’s hallways.

“Sue’s artwork and poetry are a lovely expression of her hidden creativity and she recently donated some paintings to our office, which are displayed in the foyer of the building for everyone to enjoy,” she said.

“Doing creative things are a big help for people with Parkinson’s.

“Parkinson’s WA offers support programs throughout the Perth metro area such as singing, dancing, yoga and tai chi. Engaging in these activities regulates mood, stimulates thought and improves movement and balance, in addition to being fun and encouraging social interaction with peers.”

To follow Ms Edge’s blog or to see more of her artwork, visit bobbleheadnanna.wordpress.com

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails