AN Elderslie artist who struggles with grief is encouraging other people suffering from bereavement to take part in her arts and crafts workshop.

Susan McInnes, 61, was left heartbroken when she lost her mum Betty six years ago and believes creative work still helps her cope.

She said: “Even after all this time, it’s still quite raw. There’s always things that can trigger grief, even something silly like an activity my mum liked doing or something mentioned in passing during a conversation.

“It’s important to have good memories but not to let your memories consume you and bring you down.

“I’ve found that arts and crafts take your mind away from your problems and is often quite cathartic.”

Susan is to host an online workshop as part of the Absent Friends Festival – a Scotland-wide event that aims to promote more public discussion of the issues around dying, loss and grief.

The Zoom session, organised by mental health service Acumen, will see participants make a paper lantern while having the chance to discuss their experiences of grief and sharing ways which help them deal with it.

Susan’s simple lantern kit has a dragonfly motif, which in many cultures is symbolic of the passing of a loved one, and only requires a gluestick and sticky tape to assemble.

The gran-of-two said: “The crafting part is really just a way to get people to share a common goal and relax by focusing on something else, so no-one should feel they’re not arty enough to take part.

“This workshop is quite close to my heart, as I believe that, in order to properly heal from grief, you can’t bottle up it. It might seem at the time like the right answer but it will just come back later on.

“Grief is something that you really need to help yourself through and other people can help you through it as well by facing it together.

“However, there will be no pressure at all to share a story during the workshop. It’s completely fine to just be there and listening.”

At the end of the online session, there will be a few minutes of reflection as participants light their lanterns using LED tea lights to remember a loved one who has passed.

To take part in the free event, which runs from 1.30pm to 3.30pm on Thursday, November 4, send an email to