‘Speaking from the Heart’ at the Joanna Field Gallery

A new exhibition at the Torch Theatre uses different art forms created by a mother and daughter to raise awareness of living with bipolar disorder, aiming to raise funds through sales of paintings for Bipolar UK. This is the national charity dedicated to supporting individuals with the much misunderstood and devastating condition of bipolar, their families and carers. Each year Bipolar UK reaches out to and supports over 80,000 individuals through our range of services.


Cassandra Lishman is a Willow Sculptor and Felt Artist. Uniquely, she grows all her own willow, coppicing over 2,500 willow trees each year. She also hand shears her micro-flock of Blue Faced Leicester sheep, then plant dyes their wool. Doing this from the Lammas Ecovillage where she lives in Pembrokeshire, she creates unusual sculptures and pictures with textural and flowing forms.


Her mother, Vilma Helfer, was a Fine Artist. Vilma suffered from Bipolar disorder, and died in 2013 of cancer in Withybush Hospital. She left behind hundreds of paintings.


Cassandra has curated this exhibition, using both her mother's work and her own, to explore the intense and difficult relationship she had with her mother. She also examines her own deep and continuing questioning of her own life, including the impact of her mother’s illness on her own mental health.


Cassandra will donate 90% of the profits from sales of her mother’s work at this exhibition to Bipolar UK. In particular, the money will go to their peer support line, which directly supports carers of people with this very severe mental illness, as well as those with the illness themselves. To find your nearest Bipolar UK Support Group, call 0333 323 3885 or email: supportgroups@bipolaruk.org


'Speaking from the Heart' runs from Sat 3 - Fri 30 November and can be viewed at all times when the theatre is open. It’s free to come and look around, conveniently sitting right next to Café Torch. You can meet the artist on opening night, Friday 9 November, 5:30 - 8:00pm.


Café Torch and the Joanna Field Gallery are on the lower ground floor of the Torch Theatre and both fully accessible.