Octopus Arts Shropshire

Developing skills, creativity & confidence

Octopus Arts Shropshire are artists Natalie Toplass and Caris Jackson who collectively have over 30 years experience delivering innovative participatory arts projects that stimulate creativity and enable people to explore and appreciate their own and each other's unique abilities.



Please book now to secure your place on the first session, where you'll visit the New Coracle Shed Museum, seeing and learning about lots of things surrounding this unusual and fascinating part of our local history, and which will lead to other creative sessions led by talented local artist Caris Jackson.

WEDNESDAY 22 JUNE 11-1.30pm

Call Danielle or Nadine on 01952 240209 or email [email protected] or [email protected]

Please note, The Greenwood Cafe will not be open so CVS will be providing some light refreshments, or bring your own for the session. There are toilet facilities for our use on site.


We've been having a great time - hope you are too!


A recent and very worthwhile project we have been recently been involved with to raise awareness of Loan Sharks.

I am sharing a project I have been involved with recently in partnership with Telford Citizens Advice Bureau.
After learning about Loan Sharks, pupils from local schools designed information posters warning of the dangers of Loan Sharks and the risks they pose to vulnerable people, particularly at this time of year.
I worked with the winning designs to finalise this image which is now being displayed on digital signage, flyers and posters across the town.
I hope it makes a difference and assists people in knowing where to get help if they have been targeted by these appalling individuals.

Timeline photos 04/09/2021

Timeline photos

Have you got any fun plans for the weekend? 🤔

Why not come along to the Secret Severn Art Trail? 😀

The trail offers free activities and something for everybody to enjoy, you have until September 12th to visit.

What are you waiting for?

Timeline photos 14/08/2021

Timeline photos

Did you know that the Secret Severn Art Trail began 6 years ago?

In that time we've gone from featuring a few local talents to over 40 current artists with our highest number of applicants than ever for the event this year!

There's plenty to see and explore with something for everyone! 😀

We look forward to seeing you from September 1st to 12th.

Photos from Octopus Arts Shropshire's post 18/06/2021

What a brilliant week working with pupils at Hollinswood Primary School painting their fish to raise awareness of ocean pollution

Photos from Octopus Arts Shropshire's post 17/06/2021

A lovely commission from the council to paint a Community Piano! lots of fun!

Photos from Octopus Arts Shropshire's post 09/06/2021

Second day of fish transformations with pupils at Newport Girls High School, raising awareness of ocean pollution through their amazing art work.
Keep your eyes peeled for more of these decorated fish which will be making an appearance over the coming months.

Photos from Octopus Arts Shropshire's post 07/06/2021

It is great to be back doing creative workshops in schools again.
Day 1 of painting these amazing fish made by The British Ironwork Centre with students at Newport Girls High School.


Last few days of voting! I would really appreciate any more votes to be in with a chance of winning. Here is the link - thank you 😊 https://www.wraptious.com/collections/spring-2021-submissions-by-caris-jackson

Our competition is now closed to new entries...but the artists still need your vote! Be sure to like, share and buy your favourite designs to help the artists win points :) You can find all the details, and see the incredible work which has been submitted at: https://www.wraptious.com/collections/competition-page


Yay my new online art course starts today and I am so looking forward to spending time absorbed in nature and seeing what art will come from it.
It is always exciting to see all the different creative approaches that come from the group, there really is no wrong way!
As the course can be worked through at your own pace while receiving feedback and support it is not too late to join.
Drop me a message if you would like to find out more about [email protected]


Free Art Sessions! I am one of the artists delivering online activities for Telford residents who would like to do something creative to improve their well-being and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Free Creative Activity for local adults

The Art of wellbeing involves using the arts and creativity to improve people’s wellbeing. If you have been experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, low mood or feeling isolated due to multiple lockdowns this may be for you

Starting in late March/ beginning of April the Health Improvement Team have set up three 6-8 week projects each with a different focus.
• Singing ( 50+ yrs)
• Pottery,
• Painting and crafts

We have artists ready to provide these activities at home through a combination of workshops on zoom and activity packs.

Linked to the above there are going to be 6 free 90 minute beginners guide to zoom led by the WEA. The first one of these will be on Monday 15th March at 9.30am.

If you are interested or want to discuss any of the above please email [email protected]
M: 07800671712

Photos from Caris Jackson: Participatory Arts's post 09/04/2021

Photos from Caris Jackson: Participatory Arts's post

Photos from Caris Jackson: Participatory Arts's post 05/04/2021

Enrollment is now open for my next online art course. Please see details below.

Photos from Caris Jackson: Participatory Arts's post 30/03/2021

Photos from Caris Jackson: Participatory Arts's post


Are you feeling the need for some creative 'me-time' with the current lockdown measures in place? Now could be the perfect time to focus on developing your art skills and discover the benefits of creativity for health and well-being.

I am starting a new session online art course from next Tuesday 12th January -please see details below for this course and 2 other online courses currently available.

Photos from Octopus Arts Shropshire's post 07/12/2020

Job well done today. Giant baubles and presents installed around Southwater Telford Christmas tree with Sticks and Stuff.


I am starting a new 6 week online art course tomorrow 'Memories of Special Places: reflections on holidays and travels'. It will be delivered through fortnightly emails with links to demonstration videos and an accompanying PDF. I will give subscribers feedback on their work via email and the option to join a private Facebook support group. Cost is £40 and you can subscribe at anytime and work at your own pace. Please email me if you would like a more detailed timetable at [email protected] and do share with anyone who might be interested. Thank you

Photos from Severn Art's post 17/09/2020

Photos from Severn Art's post


🖌 We're excited to announce that the free Secret Severn Art Trail is being extended with an exciting new exhibition after enjoying amazing support this year!

🖌 Thanks to you we've broken all previous years' records for visitors and sales - and now we've re-hung the main exhibition at the Footprint Gallery, Fusion, next to the famous Jackfield Tile Museum, and are re-opening from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th September and from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th September.

🖌 While the pop-up studios at Jackfield Village Hall will not be re-opening for the extended period, in addition to the main exhibition, visitors can see artists at work in open studios including Jan Park Art, next to the Tile Museum, and at Maws Craft Centre. Studios will also be open at Ironbridge Fine Arts and Framing at Merrythought Village, the Bolthole at the Wharfage in Ironbridge, and the Angel Gallery in Broseley.

🖌 For more info please visit: https://secretsevern.co.uk/


Your pathway to online success with Alliyah Dawud starts next week with the beginner's guide to .

We start at the beginning and look at what can and cannot be sold on Etsy, how to list on Etsy, how to set up a shop and how to customise it to fit in with your brand image.

This live online course starts on 15th September at 9.15am and runs for two sessions. All the details are here: https://enrolonline.wea.org.uk/Online/2019/CourseInfo.aspx?r=C3127829

Photos from Caris Jackson: Participatory Arts's post 04/09/2020

Photos from Caris Jackson: Participatory Arts's post

2020 Featured Artists - Secret Severn Art Trail 23/08/2020

2020 Featured Artists - Secret Severn Art Trail

2020 Featured Artists - Secret Severn Art Trail 2020 FEATURED ARTISTS Emma Brownlow CERAMICS Facebook Emma Brownlow Ceramics Instagram Sue Chadwick JEWELLERY Facebook SueChadwickJewellery Instagram Website www.suechadwick.co.uk Kim Davis WOOD ART Facebook Kim Davis Wood Turner Instagram We...


Popular art exhibition in stunning setting to delight visitors for fifth year

Organisers of a popular free event on the Shropshire arts calendar are thrilled to announce that it will go ahead next month (September) with more venues and artists taking part than ever.

The Secret Severn Art Trail, which is centred around Jackfield, will run from Thursday 3 September to Sunday 13 September.

People are invited to enjoy artwork from the best local established and up-and-coming artists while soaking up the beautiful World Heritage Site scenery. Now in its fifth year, the event for all the family will include a main exhibition at the Footprint Gallery, Fusion, next to the famous Jackfield Tile Museum.

The main exhibition showcases the work of more than 40 artists across a wide variety of mediums. Visitors can also see the artists at work in the many open studios in Jackfield.

With the lifting of lockdown restrictions, plans have been able to move forward and safety measures will be in place including one-way systems, hand sanitiser at entrances and spacing to maintain social distancing.

A new addition for this year will be pop-up studios at Jackfield Village Hall. All sites will be open from 10am to 5pm each day. Also taking part in the trail are Ironbridge Fine Arts and Framing at Merrythought Village in Ironbridge, and the Angel Gallery in Broseley.

The Chair of Secret Severn, Rod Sheppard, said: “2020 has been a year like none of us have experienced before, so we are extremely grateful to be able to place a spotlight on the beauty of art and the Gorge once again.

“We’ve gone from a handful of artists in our first year to more than 40, so there’s plenty to see and explore.

“We’ve been monitoring Government advice and the ongoing situation and will have Covid safety measures in place. We have also listened to feedback from previous years, hence this year the trail is centralised around Jackfield, with most open studios within walking distance.

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming visitors, offering something different to do after the months of lockdown as well as showcasing the fantastic artistic talent on our doorstep.”

Vice Chair, Jan Park added: “The Secret Severn Art Trail is a great day out for all ages to enjoy and an opportunity to support local artists.

“Artists will be selling a whole range of products from greeting cards, jewellery, ceramics, original paintings and drawings to sculpture, photographs, prints and textiles - for all budgets.

“Do come and take in the culture in this incredible setting, and help us to kick off the Festival of Imagination, which starts on the 12th, a feast of art, poetry, cookery, film, workshops, performance, talks, and local history celebrating the Ironbridge Gorge.”

Flags outside the venues will help people to see who is taking part. Parking is available at Jackfield Tile Museum, and coffee will also be available

For further information, please visit www.secretsevern.co.uk

Pic: Caris Jackson

Photos from Severn Art's post 05/08/2020

Photos from Severn Art's post


Here's a heads up for Caris's Art Session on Thursday. If you want to take part on that day (or at any later time), we'll be giving you a link to her fun videos on Thursday to guide you through the activity! Thank you Caris Jackson: Participatory Arts

Meantime, there are a few materials you'll need to get ready: Magazines/newspapers; plan paper; a glue stick and scissors; plus drawing equipment (pencils/felt tips etc) if you want.
Looks cool fun!

Hope you're looking forward to getting arty . . .


Details about my next online course starting June 16th.

I am starting a new 6 week online art course on June,16th, ''Imaginative Mixed Media Collage inspired by Symbolism, Surrealism and Fantastical Arts' where I will be sharing some of my creative collage-making methods and techniques.

Those signing up will receive weekly emails with inks to demonstration videos, an illustrated supporting document and support and feedback on your work from me.

The cost is £30 for 6 sessions and is suitable for many levels as you can progress entirely at your own pace.

Please message me if you would like to find out more or email [email protected].

Feel free to share with anyone who would be interested. Thank you 😊

Photos from Caris Jackson: Participatory Arts's post 05/05/2020

I am in the second week of delivering my first online course but as you go at your own pace you can sign up at any time so do get in touch if you would like some inspirational art activities sent to you weekly during lockdown. Here is what some current participants have said,

' I was never confident with Mixed Media , Caris has put so much effort into the first week . Her video’s & email info have really encouraged me to experiment & have fun with it .
Thanks Caris 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 motivation during lockdown'.

' Wow Caris .... that’s fab, just like having you in the room demonstrating, with the bonus of being able to ‘replay’ any particular technique. I can’t wait to get started'.


Now is a great time to get creative! And perhaps try something you've never done before. In partnership with Telford Senior Citizens Forum, we're pleased to offer a series of four Virtual Me-Too Session with artist Caris Jackson: Participatory Arts for registered Telford & Wrekin Adult Carers. This creative project will be delivered to you through weekly emails and links to demonstration videos with the ability to carry out everything at your own pace.

Contact Caris or link here to more information on our website:


In the absence of our usual popular Wellbeing groups throughout Telford, we want to provide online group interest and fun - and a break from lockdown isolation - for those who would like it. And as you're at home, the person you care for could join in too if you and they wish. All you will need is an internet connection on your smart phone, tablet, laptop or PC.

Our current chosen days for sessions would be Tuesdays and Thursdays (probably mornings) with start times to be decided, but lasting around 30-40 minutes.

We would very much like to hold a Mindfulness Session once a week with an experienced practitioner leading. You won't need any experience to take part in these sessions - you will learn simple techniques to help you relax during this difficult time.

Then we would have one other similar session per week with different topics, AND WE NEED IDEAS FROM YOU! We've had a few thoughts, but tell us yours too - why not comment below (although bear in mind the restrictions online group participation might present!) or send a text to our work mobile on 07878 457141 . . . perhaps:
Demonstrations/Talks - flower arranging/craft etc
Book Club
Crafting/Knitting with Chatting!

If you're interested in taking part in any of the above please text/call the mobile number 07878 457141 and leave your name and number/s.

Photos from Caris Jackson: Participatory Arts's post 20/04/2020

Anyone fancy giving an online art course a go?

Photos from Caris Jackson: Participatory Arts's post 06/04/2020

Caris is also taking part in the Artist Support pledge. Check instagram for more info and support artists if you can at this difficult time

Timeline photos 02/04/2020

Caris is also taking part in the Artist Support Pledge. Please consider supporting artists by buying their work as most are self employed and have lost substantial income sources at this challenging time.

I had an amazing outcome to my first post in the which sold the next day. I am absolutely thrilled and already browsing art pieces on I would love to buy if I reach £1000 in sales. The concept is artists post images of artwork on Instagram which they are willing to sell for no more than £200 each (not inc. shipping). Anyone can buy the work and everytime the artist reaches £1000 in sales they pledge to spend £200 on other artists work. To make a pledge post your work with the and follow the # to see everyone elses work. Keep updated on opportunities & announcements . Repost and tell your friends, colleagues and collectors. Let generosity be infectious. Thank you for the initiative.
This piece is Birdgirls, a mixed media collage using printed paper, acrylic paint, vintage prints and my favourite sparkely touches on canvas, size 23x30cm. Selling for £185.

Photos from Natalie Toplass - Fine Artist's post 02/04/2020

Natalie is taking part in Artist Support Pledge - please see more information about this on her post. She is selling these gorgeous prints from her original paintings.

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