The Art of Flow


The Art of Flow : John Holt

Monday, 17 October 2016 (All day) - Saturday, 26 November 2016 (All day)
Whole Venue: Open Monday - Saturday: 9.30am - 5pm
Exhibitions are also open to view on evenings when the venue opens for performances. Sunday opening times are from 1 hour before the performance starts.


" I am rooted but I flow...."  Virginia Woolf




Not only does water give to the human being and to all living nature the basis for existence in a living body, but it pictures - as though a great parable - higher qualities of man's development.  Qualities such as the overcoming of rigidity in thought, of prejudice, of intolerance; the ability to be able to enter into all things and learn and understand them out of their own nature and to create out of polarities a higher unity; all these are aims of human striving which we recognise also in the qualities of water"  Theodor Schwenk "Sensitive Chaos"



The Art of Flow - the "flow art" of John Holt

Over many years in the arts, as teacher in mainstream education and as an arts facilitator in the field of mental health John Holt developed the concept that "creativity is the immune system of the mind and the source of the mythic", that creativity has a natural tendency, an inclination, when stimulated and encouraged in the individual, towards a heightened sense of "self realisation", of "awareness of self".  This he believes is a process of the clarification of the relationship between self and the world, (eg self and body, self and environment, self and the other etc), and that this need manifests openly, given the chance, in diverse ways through the construction of language and symbols.  As Shaun McNiff observes in his book Art as Healing, "Whenever illness is associated with loss of soul, the arts emerge spontaneously as remedies, soul medicine." Shaun McNiff 


So after many years of teaching in schools, colleges and Universities he left formal education to establsih a major arts and mental health charity called AiM (Artists in Mind) in Huddersfield.  John built AiM over 12 years from inception to a successful organisation with studios for people suffering acute nd long term mental distress.  AiM also worked in psychiatric hospitals and prisons.

After leaving AiM in 2012 he took a studio in Holmfirth and began to search within his abiding interests in art and transformation by visually exploring notions of "flow and fluidity".  "Flow" as manifest physically in nature and psychologically in the process, the mechanics of human creativity.

This work was developed in a series of large scale drawings, ceramic sculptures and in installations such as one in which he placed a series of nine ceramic sculptures into the flow of a fast flowing river, and another working with a musician on an ongoing project entitled "Fragments of Lost Rivers".  These works took on a Taoist dimension.  Taoism teaches a person to flow with life and to him this working process was concerned with placing oneself into the flow of life through art, to manifest a "creative flow".  The idea that the construction of language was an antidote to psychic fracture and disconnection from self was continued in his studio, just as he had always espoused in his work with studnets, patients and users of mental health services over many years.  These visual maps of "flowing" he made in his studio are indicators of a search for a unity, of a psychic and a spuritual health and potentially of the true expression of one's own nature.  This work indicates the healing potential in art and it celebrates the power and beauty of the nature within us all.




  Find out more...  .

Click the mini poster to

download (A3 PDF 2.2MB)

Download the poster - designed as A3 

Why not display it

somewhere with pride!

 Find out more about John and his work on his 



About Visual Arts at the LBT