From little things, big things grow…

Accessible arts and cultural activities can seem like a given, because so many of us do it without even thinking. We read about an exhibition, we catch the train, we go for a walk around, see the work, and catch a cup of coffee in the gift shop. We rummage through bookstores, flick through television channels, salivate over new recipes, and blast our favourite tunes while dancing around the kitchen.

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We do these things because being creative is innately human – it is something we all do. For people with multi-sensory impairments, arts and culture aren’t always as accessible. Information about what is on is hard to access, how you’ll get there is a logistical minefield, and when you get there – everything is behind glass! We’re trying to break down some of those divides and barriers to access at Sense, and last week we began an exciting new tactile arts workshop programme for people with dual-sensory impairments living in Hertfordshire.

Over the next ten weeks, the group will be working with visual arts facilitator, Yva Jung at the newly refurbished TouchBase SouthEast in Barnet, to develop their personal arts practice, and exhibit their work.

Yva uses different tactile media to create artwork that is accessible, multi-sensory and beautiful. Combining found objects, textiles, and eco-materials the group will be creating personal forests in mini-installations.

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We began with different pieces of wire, moulding and bending them into geometric shapes. Soon, the shapes became leaves, taking on new shapes and patterns. By combining textured paper, wire and florist foam, a garden soon emerged.

Part of any arts project is about developing new skills and enjoying the process. Art gives us the permission we sometimes need to sit back and focus on something for ourselves. For the group members, time-out from everyday life, to connect (or reconnect) with friends, new and old, is incredibly important. A cup of tea, a chance to talk, to reflect… these things can seem almost indulgent in our fast-paced lives, but we all know how vital they are too.

I am always struck by the talent that the people we support have innately for making beautiful work, and Saturday was no different. The theme of the project, In my forest… , will see the group exploring real and imagined landscapes. Each individual artist will have their own perception of what a forest is, and what it could be.

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Artists of all ages are involved in the group and come from all over Hertfordshire. A shared interest in art-making is what binds the group. Where it goes – well, that’s for the group to find out.

Our suite of Arts and Wellbeing programmes and services are for people of all ages, with different interests, needs and aspirations. Check out what we’re doing in our other arts programmes. 

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