Material Memories, a textiles arts exhibition telling the unique personal stories of people with sight and hearing impairments from the local community is opening at the Islington Museum on 14 May.
For twelve weeks people with sensory impairments over the age of 50 worked together at the museum to design a patchwork quilt of memories. The quilters shared their stories and used fabrics, embellishments, print media, paints, and personal objects to mark the twists and turns of their lives.
Fereshteh, one of the makers, said:
“As a blind person I use touch quite a lot to connect with the world – I love using my fingers, it’s so comforting. Everyone has a story to tell and this project allows me to say it in my own language, weaving it into the community’s.”
Raji who was born deaf and has tunnel vision as a result of Usher syndrome, added:
“When you’re deafblind you don’t have access to information and taking part in social activities is quite difficult. It’s so refreshing to be able meet likeminded people, share our memories and create something beautiful that tells our story to the world.”
The project is part of Sense’s, Arts & Wellbeing programme, which supports deafblind people at all stages of their involvement in the arts and cultural sector. Visitors will be able to touch the memory quilt that serves as a tactile history of each participant’s past, while listening to recordings of their stories.
Kara Jarrold from Sense, who oversaw the project, said:
“Quiltmaking often spans generations and friendships and every time a quilt is passed on, so too are the thoughts and feelings of each maker. With ‘Material Memories’ we wanted to bring people, whose voices are not usually heard, together and provide an accessible way for them to tell their story creatively.”
Islington Council Head of Library and Heritage Services, Rosemary Doyle said:
“I am very pleased that we have been able to work with Sense on this fascinating project – it provides an interesting insight into the lives of people living with sensory impairments. ‘Material Memories’ was designed for people over 50, who are at risk of becoming isolated. So as well as being a fun project, the 12-week course was also a chance for people with hearing or sight loss to meet new friends and learn new textile skills.
“It is a unique work of art and will take pride of place at the museum when it goes on display. “
‘Material Memories’ is on at the Islington Museum (Beneath Finsbury Library) on 245 St John Street London EC1V 4NB, from 14 May 2015 – 15 June 2015. Opening event with the makers on Friday 14 May from 3.30-5.30pm. Admission is free.
Sense is a national charity that has supported and campaigned for children and adults who are deafblind for 60 years. There are currently 250,000 deafblind people in the UK.
Sense provides specialist information, advice and services to all deafblind people, their families, carers and the professionals who work with them. In addition, we support people who have a single-sensory impairment with additional needs. Further information can be found on Sense’s website – www.sense.org.uk