The project is designed for people living with dementia, their families and carers, and has been developed to enable people to reconnect back to the landscape, through a regular series of meetings and workshops at Bracelands Adventure Centre, near Coleford and throughout the Forest of Dean.
I decided that we would, as a group make a large wall hanging, using mixed media (paper, felt, cotton & inks) and a variety of applique methods - stamping, gluing and stitching.
The sessions I ran were held over 6 weeks (one class every other Tuesday) and as the theme was nature, I chose to get the group making a large flower.
This was one of my example pieces:
Each person (or pair if more assistance was needed) had a petal template (which were likened to hot air balloon shapes, so watch out for that next time!) and a host of smaller nature inspired templates that I'd drawn for them. They then got creative!
In the first session, most people spend their time going through the materials and papers, choosing colours and patterns that they liked, cutting out their petal and their smaller images and starting to glue them in place:
Then the middle and last weeks, at their own pace, each person, or couple, got onto the fun part of making their petal really stand out. We had some special ink stampers, some googly eyes and 3D bug stickers, lots of stitching, especially by the men who'd mostly not done any sewing before.
A couple of the chaps didn't have the fine motor skills needed for working with the patterned fabrics and chose to do some stamping instead to decorate their petals. With some help they both achieved some wonderfully creative work:
Ultimately the whole group did such amazing petals and when they were all put together, they looked fantastic!
We had more petals than I originally expected, but it didn't matter, they all worked so well together. I'm over the moon for the group at how great it looks.
I took it home and stitched down the petals that had so far just been glued down. I also wanted to add a date to the piece, so I made a yellow centre for the flower and stitched 'MINDSCAPE 2016' on it. To give it a bit of a 3D element I also stuffed the center. The last thing to do was to add a dowel rod at the top so it can be hung up in it's new home at ArtSpace.
The group all said they'd really enjoyed the sessions and as if to prove it, they've invited me back to run some wet felting sessions next Spring! I can't wait!