As the Forest of Dreams reaches its conclusion, I remember my first time seeing it.
I’m Natasha, I volunteer and work with Sense, and I was honoured to be invited to see the Forest of Dreams in action.
The Forest of Dreams is a national project that has been running for a year across six children’s groups and this was the final making session, a special just for adults. With storytelling and textile creation at its heart, it helps empower users think about their dreams and aspirations, build their confidence, learn new skills and make new friends.
This is part one of my tale.
It was my first time at TouchBase South East and from the smiling receptionist through to our helpful guide to the hall, every step felt warm and welcoming.
Kara and I entered the room as the story told by Marion was in full flow: a series of physical objects were being passed around to help narrate and bring the story to life. We had missed the shiny apple and squirting water, but we made it in time for the light fabric veil over their delighted faces, swaying branches of fragrant pine and happy conclusion to the story. There were clinking coins and the smooth apple was reintroduced to bring it back to the beginning of the story. There were accompanying happy sounds of surprise and animated movements which portrayed how much enjoyment the group was getting out of the story being told in another dimension.
If you would like to follow the story yourself, Marion wrote a great oldblog post on it here.
After setting the context behind the Forest of Dreams, each participant was invited to explore the Forest of Dreams itself. It had been built up over the past weeks by each group and was an impressive scale! Participants were guided through streams and ribbons of fabrics of all colours, textures and sounds. They flowed over their heads, hands and enveloped them in a fountain of ‘feeling’ sense. As they moved through, items tinkled, bells rang and peels of giggles and laughter were created. Hands outstretched to grasp at tendrils of velvet or to gently stroke felt baubles and investigate hand-woven waffle webs.
I moved onto the next section leaving a buzz of energy behind me as each participant was eager to be next and experience the forest.
Read on for part two, getting hands on!