Walking Impressions Project

LEACH POTTERY AND THE SENSORY TRUST ARE COLLABORATING WITH PEOPLE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA IN THE ST IVES AREA ON AN INNOVATIVE ARTS AND WELLBEING PROJECT

The Leach Pottery and Sensory Trust are collaborating with people living with dementia and their carers in the St Ives area on an innovative arts and wellbeing project. Walking Impressions is a creative project involving walking in the Cornish landscape and using nature as inspiration for ceramic artwork made at monthly studio sessions at Leach Pottery.

Walking Impressions is part of the Sensory Trust’s ‘Creative Spaces in the Community’ project through which people with dementia and their carers from around Cornwall meet regularly to take part in walking, fishing, gardening and woodland craft activities, enabling them to get outdoors and engage with nature, enhancing their physical and mental wellbeing and reducing isolation and loneliness. 

The Leach Pottery now fund the creative studio based work, and Leach Learning and Participation Officer and accomplished potter Jackie Clark guides the Walking Impressions participants or the 'Wedensday Wanderers' as they are now known. in the use of ceramics. Jackie and the Group, together with the support of highly valued volunteers,  explore the connection between landscape, nature and memories and use natural materials to make tools and to imprint into clay. 

There is much neuroscientific and case study evidence to illustrate what we instinctively know about the healing and wellbeing that comes from group activities that stimulate our senses, particularly when a group comes together with a shared story like dementia. For example, simply looking at beautiful things stimulates the brain to produce serotonin, one of our ‘feel good’ chemicals; sharing challenges with friends helps us see and hear the world in a new way, opening us up to new sources of support and encouragement and stimulating connections in the brain and body; moving our focus from our thoughts to our senses can help reduce anxiety and stress; and working with our hands stimulates huge areas of our brain as tens of thousands of nerve endings in our sense of touch learn new skills – the more stimulated and active our brains, the more we reduce stress and tension, the more blood can flow, the more healing and wellbeing we experience.

The project is an exciting new departure for the Leach Pottery team enabling us, through our collaboration with the Sensory Trust, to gain expertise in working with people with dementia and extend their educational offer to a new audience. 

The pilot project was documented by film maker Richard Liddicott. The film enabled the first participants to share their experiences and art work with a wider audience and demonstrate the benefits of getting outdoors, engaging with nature and being creative. A collaborative artwork was exhibited at the Leach Pottery from 9th to 20th November 2016, with all participants coming together to celebrate their work. 

If you would like to take part in or volunteer on this project please contact Ellie Robinson-Carter, Project Officer at Sensory Trust, erobinsoncarter@sensorytrust.org.uk, 01726 222900, www.sensorytrust.org.uk or Margaret Parma, at the Leach Pottery, 01736 799703

This project has been made possible by Feast, Arts Council England and Cornwall Council. The programme is managed by Creative Kernow. 

 

The Sensory Trust

The Sensory Trust makes places more accessible, attractive and useful for everyone, regardless of age, disability and social circumstances. Their work brings social and health benefits to people whose lives are affected by social exclusion, including older people, people with physical, sensory, and intellectual impairments and families and carers. They encourage richer connections between people and place so that people can value and get involved with their environment. They aim to remove barriers and make places and processes more accessible so that more people can join in; working with communities so that people can contribute to the decisions that affect them and the places where they live. 

For further information, contact the Sensory Trust, c/o Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall PL24 2SG. +44(0)1726 222900, www.sensorytrust.org.uk

Feast

Feast is a programme to make great art happen across Cornwall. It harnesses the talents and energy of Cornwall’s artists and communities, generating new opportunities for everyone to enjoy the arts. The focus is on bringing people together to share experiences as audiences or participants, and on animating local celebrations and cultural life. 

For further information, contact FEAST, Krowji, The Old Grammar School, West Park, Redruth TR15 3AJ, 01209 312502, feast@actcornwall.org.uk

Arts Council England

Arts Council England was set up in 1946 by Royal Charter to champion and develop art and culture across the country. They are governed by an executive board and national and area councils. They invest public money including National Lottery money to help bring great art and culture to everyone. Over the next three years Arts Council England will invest £1.1 billion of public money from Government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create great art and culture for everyone, everywhere. They receive Government funding from the Department for Culture Media and Sport and their requirements are laid out in a funding agreement with them. 

For further information, contact Arts Council England 0845 300 6200 or go to www.artscouncil.org.uk