We have recently been running some sessions in London exploring textiles and natural objects. We have been using these materials to encourage reminiscence and conversations in a very hands on, sensory way.
We provided a wide range of materials from fabric and cloth to dried flowers, postcards, old maps and stickers. Carers used the materials to talk to their loved one teasing out memories of a place or event. By actually experiencing the feel of the different items or the smell of some of the natural materials such as moss or pine cones we are often more able to access memories and make connections. For one couple the colour and pattern of one of the fabrics reminded them of an old friend they used to holiday with in Southend, they then found images of the seaside a to tease out these memories. It was lovely to hear all the chatter and laughter as people told their stories.
Once a theme or memory was established we got to work making our books. We simply put together a selection of coloured A4 paper, hole punched the sides and secured together with ribbon, twine or treasury tags. Front covers were decorated with a range of materials and then participants were encouraged to add to their books over a period of weeks building up a textural memory book.
This activity forms part of a collection of textile based activities which we are currently testing and developing. How-to instructions will be added to our resource library in the upcoming months so watch this space!