My name is Wendy Daws and I’m an artist, based in Kent. I wrote a dissertation entitled ‘The Value of Touch, Blind Alphabet C and Museum Approaches to Visually Impaired Visitors’ in 2004 and I’ve been a volunteer with the Kent Association for the Blind since 2005. I set up and run two art groups for visually impaired and blind people living in Medway (2005) and Gravesend (2015). At the Gravesend Art Group we are creating art works for our November exhibition, entitled ‘Totally Touchable’.
As a group we have been exploring all manner of artists and styles to discover ways to create art. We’ve been inspired by Alberto Giacometti to create versions of his figurative sculptures, which will grow in numbers for our show. I asked everyone to share a photograph, object or happy memory of something that is personal to them. Sue, who lost her eyesight in her late twenties, has very fond memories of sunflowers and it was this memory that led me to Living Paintings and a great conversation and advice from Maria.
I was very excited to open our delivery from Living Painting and share Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ at our meeting on Monday. We each had a tactile Sunflower painting, a coloured copy of the painting and silk sunflowers. This was a great recipe for inspiring art making. The tactile images had an immediate and extremely positive effect, allowing everyone the opportunity to touch-see at their own pace. It brought the painting to life. I then handed everyone a large canvas on which to create their own Sunflowers. Most of the group felt the tactile image with one hand and drew with the other and there is a mixture of painting and low relief tactile versions, using wires, plaster mod-roc and collaged papers. Watch this space.
Borrow Van Gogh for the Sunflowers tactile from our Touch to See library