Work made with residents at Jack Simpson House, Retirement Home, Exeter.
Commissioned by the Guinness Trust for the festival of creativity
Working with older people that have needed to move out of their homes and into a retirement home requires sensitivity and patience but the results from these endeavors are always interesting and reap rewards in many different ways.
My view is that it is vital for older people, especially those in care homes, to be given more opportunities to be inspired to think, to remember and engage. With this work I hope that through a patient and nurturing process memories and skills are remembered and embraced. Then by making the work produced visible this acts as channels for further dialog with the many people that the residents interact with.
Life in our hands
On the first afternoon I sat with the ladies in the conservatory.
New distractions are always welcome even if it takes a little while to encourage some partcipataion.
The below works are personal histories, they are made on a one to one basis, useully in 2 to 3 hours.
Anne showed me pictures and told me stories about her life for a few hours. She suffers from dementia so wondered who I was a few times, but each time got back into remembering her past, her love of London and her time studying textiles at the RCA. We had a lovely time.
( if you click an image on this page, the image should enlarge big enough to read..)
Ray ( Yogi) Beer was born in a station house and worked on the railways all his life. He loved it.
He had so many stories and things he wanted included the image got a little messy but I am told the carers love to pick bits out to talk about, they are always finding something new.
Una can be quite grumpy, not surprising really as she is mostly in pain with her back. It took a while but as we chatted she slowly cheered up and the next thing I knew we had the photos out while she recounted her first trip abroad for her 60th birthday, behind the red curtain to the USSR!
if you click an image on this page, the image should enlarge big enough to read.
3 curtains were also created using various images that were meaningful to the residents
Peggy was an absolute joy to work with, she suffered from a bit of hopelessness to begin with but once she had a reason to produce there was no holding her back. She is still writing her poems and has been commissioned by the Mayor of Exeter to write one for a local charity. This gives Peggy some impetus and has really made a difference to her general heath and well being.
All the work was shown at a Festival of Creativity. This was launched by the Mayor of Exeter and was very well attended and much appreciated and enjoyed