Tactile and audio books inspire blind adults to get crafting
September 27, 2018

Our community-lead programme of Touch to See Book Clubs is about so much more than books. Our tactile and audio books can act as inspiration for a variety of activities: from trips to historical properties, to forming stimulating discussions, and creating artwork or crafts.

Living Paintings’ programme manager, Maria recently organised a hands-on, craft workshop for a group of visually impaired ladies in Evesham, Worcestershire in partnership with Sight Concern Worcestershire and a local community art organisation.

Using our adult album, The Nature of Britain, Maria lead the session alongside group leader Heather who provided a wealth of craft materials for the members to use. Most of the group had some sight but there was one lady who could only see light and dark so tactile-based materials including textiles, sand, feathers and sequins were a must.

To start the session, members first listened to the book’s audio guide – a resource that’s supplied with every Living Paintings Touch to See book – and explored the raised image of a red admiral butterfly. After listening to the audio, members continued to feel the raised image with one hand and with the other hand sketched their own interpretation on a piece of white card. Once the outline was drawn, group assistants used either a thick black pen or embossing pen to give the pencil sketch definition, making it easier for those with partial sight to see.

Each member then used either bright paint with sand mixed in to it or various tactile materials to build up their own picture. Once completed, members told Maria about the real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction the session gave them.

Hands feeling a tactile picture of the life cycle of a butterfly

Hands creating a collage-style picture of a red admiral butterfly

One member said, “I loved hearing about the life cycle of the butterfly and how many legs it had, the colours and markings. It really helped me to visualise what it actually looks like, I would have found it very difficult to draw my picture without it.”

“I think the session gave us a focus as a group as it was the first time we have worked to a theme around one subject i.e the butterfly. Normally when we do a session it is about the medium we are working in e.g mosaic rather than a specific subject.”

The group leader said, ‘’The commentary was really informative about the admiral butterfly and told them facts they were unaware of.’’

Ladies creating butterfly pictures using various craft materials

Ladies creating collage-style pictures of red admiral butterflies

If you run one of our Book Clubs and would like to know more about introducing art and craft activities to your sessions, please feel free to contact Maria for more tips and advice. Don’t yet have a group in your local area but think your community could benefit from our free service for blind and partially sighted adults? Call 01635 299771 to speak to Maria or email marias@livingpaintings.org.


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