Rhian Llewelyn Laird first came across Quakers in her 30s whilst reading a mediation textbook, while volunteering after work for Gravesend Mediation Mediation In North Kent.
I went along to Rochester Quakers, then attended Quaker meditation sessions in Meopham with Quaker Ann Simpson. Later in London I attended the Westminster Quaker Meeting, and volunteered at the Quaker homeless library near Tottenham Court Road. Around this time Jennifer Kavanagh brought out her game Journey Home. I was volunteering almost full-time trying to gain experience to work in social welfare housing law.
Later I attended Clevedon Quaker Meeting, with Tom Leimdorfer who advised me on Bristol mediation. I trained as a Restorative Justice volunteer and volunteered alongside working part time at North Somerset Council legal services. I undertook art therapy courses with Bristol Quaker Dr Marian Liebmann, linked to mediation and restorative justice, and explored folk music (violin and keyboard) with Clevedon Quakers and local musicians.
Now I’m part of the Bath Quaker meeting. At first I worked part-time for Bath Council. I involve social-welfare law colleagues with William Heath’s project at Fairfield House, volunteer with Judith Eversley and Kirsty Philbrick for Quaker Young People, I have previously worked with Lin Patterson on the Stop Ecocide campaign and related climate matters and link with Extinction Rebellion.
I’m currently volunteering at the planning weekend for the children’s programme for Yearly Meeting 2022 (online and at Friends House, Euston 27-30 May). I hope this experience will help me contribute to Bath Meeting.
This is happening as I near the end of my second term at Heatherley’s School of Fine Art to which I won a bursary. Local Friends including Judith Eversley supported my successful application for Quaker Hope Grant for art materials. The two-year diploma focuses on life figure painting as a traditional training for wider painting practice. I’d been unable to take up a place at Camberwell when young and this new chance to study art, a lifelong practice, only opened up when I became ill and was no longer able to work so much in front of a computer screen.
I attach some examples of my work. I only realised recently that influential art historian Roger Fry was from the Fry Quaker family!
The paintings are studies representing professional life models Eline Pérès ( life model, dancer, yoga teacher) and Hymie Rutherford (life model, writer)