Josie has been working as a Community Artist for the past 12 years following on from a degree in Italian and Art History. The lack of hands on, people based work inspired her to turn her back on very dry academia and get really grassroots.
The following years led to work as: Theatre co-ordinator at the Centre for Alternative Technology; Performer and maker for Babbling Vagabonds Theatre Company www.babblingvagabonds.co.uk, and freelance artist for inspiring companies such as Welfare State International on several Lantern Procession and with Walk the Plank at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games finale.
During this time she was also co founder of Machynlleth based company “Elemental Earth” in 1999, who specialised in connecting people to their communities and environment through land and art based projects. This company was very much inspired by the work of Gordon MacLellan, or Creeping Toad www.creepingtoad.org.uk, and included establishing the now annual Lantern Procession in November, a network of School Gardens, High street flags to celebrate Local Trade and a range of murals, mosaic, willow sculptures and processional work.
Ending up in Pembrokeshire she worked for a year as a Community Development Officer but missed the mess, chaos and creativity of Community Arts! Since then she has been working freelance with Theatr Fforwm Cymru, the Prince’s Trust, Global Connections, and with Sand Palace Arts.
Josie is really passionate about community based Celebrations and loves being involved particularly with processional work, working with communities to create new and exciting ways to be together. Her creative skills include large-scale sculptural and processional pieces, fire drawings, murals and mosaic work.
Following on from a Post Grad Certificate in Emotional Education she is interested in using the Arts to work more therapeutically and has just started training to be a Play Therapist. She also works with her husband Matt Oliver, supporting him on Bushcraft courses working with young people with specific needs, and creating sculptures based in the community www.stoatwoodbushcraft.co.uk. They are both currently working towards creating a small sustainability education centre at their home near Little Haven.