As far as arts projects for people who are fully or partially blind, there are so many different modifications and routes one can take when facilitating. For this creative practice, I chose to go three-dimensional. When someone has lost their sense of sight, they relay even more so on their other senses; touch being that of most importance. I chose to create a three-dimensional piece using modeling clay because clay (or anything like it) has a sense of versatility. It is usually very easy to work with, easy to maneuver and easily modified. I wanted to work with a material that not only gives the patient that sense of freedom but I wanted a material that has a therapeutic effect as well. Sculpting by hand and having the freedom to turn one thing into something completely different definitely has a positive and calming effect.
For someone who is blind, a medium such as drawing might give a patient a sense of frustration seeing as they aren’t able to actually look at their final outcome. A three-dimensional sculpture on the other hand, can be explored and examined by touch.
For my piece of artwork, I chose to base my sculpture off of existing objects. When I created my piece, I had my eyes closed the entire time. What I thought was very important is the fact that I gave myself about two minutes of touching the existing object. This is important because I was able to get a good feeling for it’s shape, size and texture. These three qualities were important, seeing as though I was about to replicate it myself using the modeling clay.
After my starfish was completed, I opened my eyes and noticed that it wasn’t completely proportional and it wasn’t completely smoothed out but I had done the best I could using what I had. The most important thing for me was that, with my eyes closed, it felt as thought it WAS a starfish. I had gotten the shape of it almost correct.
When completing a three-dimensional piece with patients, modeling clay isn’t the only material that can be used. Model magic can be used if you are looking for a softer texture and something even easier to work with. Regular clay (that can eventually be fired and hardened with a kiln) can also be used.
The great thing about working with any sort of clay with blind patients is that there aren’t really many modifications that have to be made. Clay is a material that doesn’t need to be seen but rather felt.
Materials: Reference Objects, Modeling Clay, Model Magic
Modeling Clay in an assortment of colors
Three-dimensional reference (in my case- a starfish)
My clay starfish (created with my eyes closed the entire time)
Model Magic (alternative to modeling clay)