Tag: craft

To Be Crafty- Crochet Crazy 

In my last post I expressed my complete frustration with being in hospital in the form of an extensive list. The birth child of frustration when you are in a situation you can do nothing about is boredom. It’s sneaky. It is when you find yourself feeling rubbish and then having nothing to do to prevent you falling head first into a relapse or episode. Nothing to distract yourself.

I think I do pretty well at keeping myself occupied. I have notebooks filled with memorised French grammar, six months worth of scrapbooks from my other unit, films, books and more. But these options get exhausted as time goes on.

One thing I have started doing is crochet, which was taught to me on a visit from my sister N to Heron unit. It was pretty hard to crochet there as you weren’t allowed the needles unsupervised and only one ball of wool at a time. Of course this was subject to your presenting mood- so half the time there was no chance!

I’ve just completed this crochet blanket for my best friend’s eighteenth birthday. It was a really good project for me and I found the repetitive action of crochet really soothing. I’ve always wanted to be a ‘crafty’ person. Making things that look reasonable and having things to do other than watching my Skins box set and reading (both activities I love dearly).

The unit craze at the moment are the amazing Kerri Smith books, in paticular wreck this journalIf you haven’t encountered it before- it is a fantastic book which instructs page by page how to destroy it. It creates some hilarious staff-patient dialogue, for example: “Ellie why are you crushing blueberries into that book?!”, “Sophie don’t bite novels”.  The list goes on.

I’m now onto crocheting a ‘leggy cat’ which Hobbycraft has promised to be easy. We will see about that- two paws in and the poor thing already looks like he could apply for cosmetic surgery on the NHS!

This was just a quick post- but I would love to know if you guys have any projects or any future project plans? Are you crafty?

How to Make a Bubble Wrap Advent Calendar

So it is that time of the year again. Where the shops get crammed, the weather gets colder and if you hear Slade one more time things may get heated… It is also the time where we pay the most attention to the passing of time using advent calendars.

It crossed my mind the other day that there are no really interactive and tactile advent calendars. If there was such a thing it could benefit those with sensory impairments, those who don’t like/can’t have chocolate and small children who like things that ‘do’. Chocolate advent calendars are the most conventional, and there are also figurine or picture calendars which admittedly aren’t very exciting (especially to those who can’t see the pictures). By chance on the same day I was made in possession of a decent quantity of bubble wrap. Queue a creative frenzy… If you would like to make a tactile bubble wrap advent calendar read on!

  • The first thing you need to do is work out how many bubbles you can have per day. The bubble wrap I was used had large bubbles so there were six to each day.
  • Next cut away any excess bubble wrap so there are just enough bubbles for each of your 25 days- leaving one line of bubbles spare along each edge.
  • Then take your cardboard and cut it to the right size. (If you want a standing calendar you could make it in three moveable pieces and stick them together with tape).
  • After, stick onto the cardboard 25 numbered pieces of paper. These could be any colour you like but I chose neon post-it notes for high visibility and simplicity. Make sure the paper is the right size so that the correct number of bubbles fit when placed over the top. I used blue polkadot washi tape to stick them down, which gave the calendar a nice pattern.
  • Next is the trickiest part. Pop the extra line of bubbles along the edges so that they are just flat plastic. Fold them over the edges of the cardboard and stick them down to the back of the board. You should end up with a very clean looking, tight, layer of bubble wrap over the cardboard.
  • Finally decorate any spare space with christmas themed messages or images.

Every day just pop the bubbles!

Happy popping!

Scattered art supplies on the floor

Draw the numbers 1-25

The finished product is brightly coloured with the message merry christmas below.

Arty with Your Hands

I’ve never been an overly arty person. I enjoy art, but I’m not talented and I don’t do anything arty on a regular basis. Whether this defines ‘arty’ I’m not sure, but I did do GCSE art at one stage. I didn’t like it much even though I had an amazingly inclusive teacher who allowed me to explore the tactile element of art and encouraged my ‘unique perspective’ on the world. Though this was brilliant I found myself frustrated. I may not be arty but I am ambitious academically and there was something about my consistent C/D (which was stubbornly attached to my work no matter how long each piece had painstakingly taken me) that tainted the experience. It seemed no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t move up a grade to a stable pass. Once when sitting in Maths with my Teaching Assistant, waiting for the teacher to arrive, we had the discussion: “How can you grade art?”. I don’t think it is as clear cut as the stickler specifications and effort evaluations that it is made out to be in schools. How can art be evaluated fully without standing in the pupil’s brain as a tiny neurone and assessing the emotion, understanding and perspective they have on the said task? Like I said before, my teacher was amazing, but I can’t help but think that the gods of all things ‘exam’ didn’t quite have the capacity to mark my different perspective on the world. To cut a long story short, I got sick for a month or so and had to give up some subjects at school and fish drawing in art was quick to go.

I like tactile things. I can see some forms of visual art- big, bold and basic are the best bet for my peepers- but I just prefer the tactile or haptic medium. Touching art gives you a physical connection to it instead of the distance needed to admire a picture with your eyes. You can feel what the artist is aiming for and you can analyse things that you would miss if you were simply gazing. “What is the purpose of this very straight line?” or “Does this curve express deep rooted emotion?”, it gives art a whole new lease of life. I like the tactile world so much that I have a ‘bag of tricks’ filled with feely things and fiddle toys. I find that having something to fiddle with or feel has a calming affect which really helps me.

But it is only in the past few days that I have started exploring how I can make tactile art myself. I’m not a huge fan of glue and it’s sticky and slimy texture, so I was sceptical in how far I’d get. I started with the basics and did some clay work.

Picture of two pieces of brown clay. The first is rectangular with the imprint of the back of a leaf on it. Underneath in indented braille it says 'Peace'. The other piece of clay is flatter and wider with an indent of a flower and some flower buds on their stem.

This was pretty straight forward to do and I was very pleased with the results. I used flowers and leaves from the garden to roll into the clay and once I was satisfied it had been sufficiently compressed I peeled the plant away. It leaves a very clear outline on the surface of the clay and is easy to find and to trace with your fingers. I also brailled ‘Peace’ into the bottom of one of them with a skewer from the kitchen… because why not?

Today I decided that after yesterday’s success I wanted to try and get another sense involved in my arty awakening. I decided smells would be interesting to throw into the mix so I commandeered the herb rack. The kitchen being raided appears to be a common theme in my work. My first experiment was with a large pot of Paprika. I can’t ever remember tasting paprika, and being aware of it anyway, but the smell is fairly distinctive so it was a good choice.

Image

This was a lot of fun to do and I basically went mad on the paper. I didn’t use any tools or paintbrushes because I figured it would be better to use my hands to make something designed for ring fingers not retinas. I splodged some old water colours I had kicking about in my room to make some raised dots and added Paprika to Gesso to make an interesting beige. I thought about the smell and what colour I would link it to in my mind so I threw in some blue watercolours too. In an interesting mix of paprika and water I also seemed to create the outline of a person. I think the person is jumping a hurdle or obstacle, which gives it a nice link to my current state of post-GCSE-ness. Totally unintentional- but I’m proud of it all the same.

Picture of a page with different shades of yellow. Herbs are scattered in clumps like clouds around a raised butterfly.

I repeated this with yellow and a pot of ‘mixed herbs’. I’m not sure of the deep meaning of the yellow sky, herb clouds and watercolour butterfly yet but I’m sure I will think of something. These pictures are really tactile, still smell of herbs no matter how ambitious you are with the paint and they look pretty cool too.

When presented with tactile art people tend to be cagey with their hands, they either eye up the piece and make an instant verdict or just give a tentative swipe of their finger on the surface. There’s no need to be cautious though, because you wouldn’t control your eyes in this way if it was a poster you were being presented with. It’s fine to separate your senses for a while and just focus on each tool of your understanding one at a time. Because that is what senses are in a way, together they are a toolkit that you can use to understand anything and everything, but it is up to the individual themselves which tool in the box they prefer to use most.