One of the nursing homes in my hometown is currently holding an exhibition. It is an exhibition with a difference as the artists are some of the residents themselves.
Mrs B. (a former art teacher) volunteers once a week at the old people’s home. She has two groups: the people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and more able people. All of them are women.
It’s the first year the Alzheimer’s patients have attended the art workshop. They can only work for about 20 minutes as they have difficulties concentrating on what they are doing. When she works with them, Mrs B. is helped by one of the caretakers. This year she chose to start with crumpled papers.
The old ladies crumple a sheet of white paper. They dip it in water. Then they unfold it and crumple it again before dipping it into diluted ink. Finally the sheet is unfolded and dried. Some of the works can be seen on the stand. Others have been used as covers for the booklets which explain what has been done during the year.
The more able residents usually work for an hour each week. They started this workshop three years ago. As they age, Mrs B. has had to find new ideas and new techniques. One of the easiest for people who have difficulties holding objects is stenciling. They made stencils using foam and the first theme was lines and dots. So they each engraved their own pieces of foam, then used a rolling brush to put paint onto the foam before printing the paper with the stencils. At the top of the stand, there are red cards with black prints made with this technique. One of the ladies then made more pictures using the replica of a bird she had painted the previous year.
Finally, some of the residents took part in a local art competition between different nursing homes. The theme this year was “the four seasons.