Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Art of Touch

Thursday saw the launch of a big project I have completed with Leicestershire Artworks, "Touch Table".

The Touch Table is a project coordinated by me with Lisa Webb, Artworks Officer for Leicestershire, commissioning 10 artists to create 20 works which can be explored by touch.

The project complements two other pieces of work we had undertaken previously, the Held in the Hand projects, which commissioned artists to create pieces that can be picked up, held and explored.

These projects can be enjoyed by anybody, but are specifically created for the benefit of people with special needs and people with dementia who would particularly benefit in exploring the sensation of touch.

The Touch Table is a special table that can have various artworks slotted into it.  It holds the art panels so that people can run their fingers across them to feel the textures.  Not only do the artworks include different materials and textures but there are ones that spin using magnets and handles, ones that you can press into and they bounce back, and pieces with buttons, ties and pockets that can be undone and explored.

The launch was a rather grand affair, held at Ulverscroft Manor, with canapes and drinks, and speakers from the local councils as well as Stephen Dorrell MP, Health Minister.

For me, working with Lisa on the brief for artists and then developing ideas with various artists for their specific pieces, it was fascinating to see people's responses to the pieces when they were all laid out together.  Throughout the project, our challenge had been to commission works that were wildly varied yet would create complete sets, covering as many different touch responses as we could, using every possible material, using old skills and new technologies.

Me with some of the artists at the launch.  L to R:  Sue Hague, Dr Lionel Dean, Austin Orwin, Richard Dawson and me.
It was great to see some of the artists finally meet each other, they instantly started to spark ideas off each other!  They, of course, had had no sense of the work of the other artists, they were just deeply involved in their own individual pieces.  Lisa and I were the only ones who had had any vision of how it would all work together, and we could finally see this coming to fruition and being enjoyed by everybody.

Thanks to all the artists who contributed their skills and talent, it is a truly wonderful collection of high quality tactile art.

To find out more about Touch Table and the Held in the Hand pieces, which are available for loan to schools and groups throughout Leicestershire, click here.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Animated artists, young people and museums and the Ticket Exchange!

A little gap between posts as I have been on holiday.  But here's a little look back at some of the things I am involved with...

Just for a giggle, three of the Associated Artists at Nottingham Contemporary took part in "The World is Your Stage" - the longest stop animation film ever!  A project created by Brendan Oliver & Brendan Randall.   See our contribution and more about the project.

(Influenced by the current Jean Genet exhibition, our piece was about power and role swapping.  Obviously!)

Also, my new project has been launched.  These leaflets are going out across Leicester and Leicestershire inviting young people to take part in an exciting project with New Walk Museum to create new innovative resources for visitors.  Click on the image to see a bigger version.

And most recently, Carole Miles and I have started our Ticket Exchange activity on the trains in Derbyshire for the Undiscovered Networks project, which has been going really well.  We are blogging about the project here.