Over the last four months I have had the pleasure of working with Sense Jessica Evans (Sense Art Tutor). Sense is a natioanl voluntary organization that works with and supports people of all ages who are deafblind and / or have sensory impairments.
In August I delivered a drop-in activity at the annual Sense (West Midlands) summer gathering, held at Rowheath Pavillion, Bournville. This year’s theme was a 1950s Summer Rock ‘n’ Roll Tea Party, a celebration event bringing together all the regions’ Sense clients, their carers, friends and family. The atmosphere was fantastic, music, dancing, and reuniting friends along with a display of home made cakes, biscuits and treats that was truly amazing and very delicious! Our drop-in activity involved making ’50s vinyl record inspired brooches and summer bunting.
In November I was invited to design a project to give Sense clients the opportunity to develop new skills, produce a wall piece to decorate The Garden Room, (Smethwick), and provide a future income generator to help fund the centers’ activities. Health & Social Care students from Stourbridge College joined us, combining their learning about working with people who have multi sensory restrictions and to experience occupational interactive sensory art activities.
A Tree of Life became our theme for a hand felted wall hanging. The tree was made as a bare trunk and branches so the wall hanging can be an ongoing interactive art work; decorated with additional work attached at later dates. The finished wall hanging is to be hung up, but also shared as an interactive multi-sensory table peice, to be handled by visitors to the centre who can enjoy it’s tactile nature. To achieve this is was important to include contrasting colours and highly tactile surface relief.
We did this by including shining glittery threads, Angelina fibres, differing textured yearns, varying depths of wool and smooth silk fibres. The group worked together to prepare and lay out the the wool and mixed the yarns and fibres, before wetting and felting the whole peice together.
As it was close to Senses’ Garden Room Christmas Fair, we also made textured felt pieces to be made into festive baubles for Christmas tree decorations. Future projects are planned using the new skills learnt, these will include making leaves and flowers, to decorate the wall hanging and to sell for fund raising as book marks and brooches.
I would like to thank everyone who participated during the project; Jessica, all the Sense clients & Stourbridge students, carers, friends and family – it wouldn’t have been possible with out you. You can find out more about Sense and donate towards their services by visiting www.sense.org.uk