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In December 2007 I was given an art set as a Christmas present. This turned out to be very significant!

I had always enjoyed art at school, but that, of course, had been many years earlier, so for a whole year, I tried to discover my ‘passion’ as an artist. I painted various things – vases of flowers, still life, objects around my home – but all in a half-hearted way.

martyart-slider-4Then I discovered doorways. And in particular an old door in the base of a chateau in France and the front door of my daughter’s Victorian home in London with stained glass panels. And I was hooked! This was my passion!

Then my husband Chick came up with an idea. Why not email all my friends, suggesting that they send me a photo of their front door from which I would produce a painting on a canvas set on its own easel. The price would include a donation to a charity called Justlife which at that time was being established in Openshaw by Gary and Hannah Bishop. We came up with the name ‘your own front door’ and the idea took off.

martyart-slider-2Soon after this, I read the strap-line Justlife used to describe their work and when I read ‘Justlife – opening doorways to housing, education and healthcare’, I knew that there was more this little idea than met the eye.

In no time I had a waiting list of orders. My original goal was to complete 100 paintings and donate £500 to Justlife, but before long I was on the second 100 and still the orders come in.

Soon after, I had the idea to paint views or scenes or buildings near to where I live under the title ‘your own doorstep’, and then the idea of miniatures caught my attention.

I began knitting MartYbears as a way of being productive while watching TV and, to date, 218 bears have been completed.

I love painting and I enjoy being creative and I am delighted to know that while I am doing this, I am also supporting the wonderful work of www.justlife.org.uk .