'A wonderful adventure' – the Forest of Dreams goes on display in Cambridge

The leaders of the project, Jenny and Marion
Marion and Jenny leading the way

As the final conclusion to an amazing England and Wales-wide epic project of making dreams more tangible, Kara Jarrold, Sense Arts and Wellbeing Manager, went to show off the brilliant Forest of Dreams to an audience filled with textiles artists and professionals. Here’s her account of how impressed they all were with the work the Sense deafblind artists created.


On a clear and blustery Sunday in late February, I made the journey across the fens to Cambourne College where the Forest of Dreams installation was on display in it’s full final impressive and colourful glory. This was the last day of a lovely 3-day exhibition of local textiles craft Textiles in Focus in Cambridge. A few craft books, a hand-dyed indigo craft apron and a lot of smocking later… it was wonderful to reflect on the reactions of those who came to the forest, got inside and explored it and left their feedback – and their own dreams – on paper leaves, posted into the forest’s very own letterbox.

Jenny and Marion – the creative team who created the magical Forest of Dreams with young children and their families from Sense’s Children’s Specialist Services across the country – were right when they said that the installation had attracted lots of excited expressions and attention from wellwishers, craft afficiandos, fellow artists, parents and children. They were really pleased their work was seen by lots of people who thought the idea was so fab.

I would love this in the primary school I work in. Just do it. Jan

This is so amazing – the skill and creativity is outstanding

This has been an amazing visual experience. I am SO impressed by the magnificent efforts of everyone. Your Forest of Dreams is a gem.

This is so amazing – the skill and creativity is outstanding

Wonderful walk in dreams – such a diverse mix of media, FAB!

Very beautiful, it’s amazing

We got lots of reactions about the importance of play and fun for children with disabilities and our display told everyone a little about those who had fun creating this artwork. We got lots of encouragement.

Very interesting, wonderful work, a good cause

What a wonderful project. Inspiring on so many levels! Dream on everyone!

And we even inspired others to try the activities:

Such a fantastic idea with so many wonderful sensory activities. You have inspired me with activities to try with my visually impaired son x

So inspiring – will definitely try some of your ideas!

Some people even posted their own dreams:

I dream of getting more involved in more creative groups sharing work with everyone

I dream of a simple life, minimal spending, growing my own food, stitching and upcycling clothes

I dream that my learning disabled students will one day sew at home …

Hope everyone’s dreams come true

I’d love to swim the channel

To make more time to do my art work!

When I’m older I want to do conservation work with animals in the jungle like this

I dream of a world with no pain or violence – will it ever happen?

I dream to make my family proud throughout my life

And it’s true:

Going into the forest was such an amazing experience. Sensory overload! Two very amazing creative people helped the groups make something beautiful.

Finally, the last word goes to this person, who summed it up perfectly:

A wonderful adventure. Thank you for sharing this!

It was a brilliant end to a brilliant project – the Forest is currently being carved up (no!) but will be sent onto the services who spent 5 days with Jenny and Marion’s creative force so that we can display the work locally (yay!) so there’s a chance the Forest might turn up near you — what would your dream be?

Thanks to everyone involved, especially the children and families who created their dreams along with Jenny’s amazing textiles skills and Marion’s wonderful sensory storytelling approach, such a successful and inspiring project!

Forest of Dreams is part of Sense’s Arts and Wellbeing programme, supporting people of all ages with sensory impairments and associated disabilities. If you would like to find out more, or join a project, watch this space or contact us via this oldblog.

Author: Kara Jarrold

Kara is Head of Arts & Wellbeing at Sense. She leads on arts projects that find ways to empower people to find their cultural voice, working collaboratively and experimentally with artists and participants to improve access to art through the senses.

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