A quick introduction for everyone, we are three graduates of CSAD that have been commissioned by The Gwanwyn Arts Festival from Age Cymru and the Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board to work on a pioneering art therapy project to treat mental illness. We are in the process of creating three-dimensional, tactile wall artworks to be installed in Llandough Hospital’s new mental health facilities. The theme of these artworks has been inspired by the four seasons, with the intent of depicting each season with a multi-sensory technique.
Our concepts were influenced by a range of areas, such as an interest with integrating recognitive movement into an initial prototype. Recognitive stimuli could be found through a number of interactions and cognitive challenges – such as turning a key in a lock, plucking a musical string, or simply tracing a finger over a familiar texture. Movements such as these give opportunity for memories to arise and can create possibilities for narratives to be found throughout the artwork, making interaction an encouraging and enjoyable experience. Other inspirations to date have been drawn from sources such as artist David Hockney, architecture, furniture, ceramics, music, sport, nature, Art Deco, the Renaissance, 1950’s and 1960’s interior design, abstraction and symbolism. We purposefully researched and integrated such a wide range of areas to make the piece as universally stimulating as possible.
Additional research has been spent on subjects such as colour theory, pattern impact, art therapies and products that aid mental health. Through researching colour theories we learnt that certain colours like red and black could have negative effects if used in excess. Repetitive patterns and shapes that could resemble facial features could also have negative effects. This research was very informative when developing the design of our ‘prototype’ piece.
We also incorporated certain health and safety considerations into the design of our prototype, such as the avoidance and preventative measures for absorbent materials, like a wipe-clean polyurethane coating, using rounded edges, making sure that it is non-intrusive at head height and that it is hard wearing not just from visual but physical interaction. We believe these are substantial considerations when creating hygienic tactile piece.
Over the next few months we will be regularly updating this blog with how we created a prototype and the artwork we will be producing, with focus on individual areas of the piece in concise detail. Engaging the local community is fundamental to our aims and vision, particularly with the sourcing of materials and positively highlighting the ever-evolving nature of art with therapy. A special thanks to the staff of Age Cymru, Llandough Hospital & CSAD who have assisted & demonstrated much support to such a worthy cause.
We are thrilled to be working on such an exciting project where the work we produce will be seen by thousands of patients, staff and families and we hope to make a real contribution to the treatment and care of people who have dementia and other mental illnesses in South Wales.