Thursday, October 16, 2014

Elder Art: Collage

Scraps from my studio become art supplies
I brought a pile of autumn-hued fabric scraps to my art classes this week.

Adding leaves to a painted ground

Folks were surprised  that fabric could be an art supply. They loved the colors, the textures. Several noticed the silks and the remnants of hand-dyed table cloths. This is the generation that treasured those linens. 

This student, usually hesitant, often disappointed, loved the process.

a rich scene

For the Alzheimer's patients, however, tasks remained discrete. Think about it: gluing is made up of many steps. It requires a sense of what is possible in the immediate future, and that's just what Alzheimer's robs away. 

Every student needed one-on-one attention to get anything glued to paper. Then, the collaged image didn't hold together in their eyes. "It looks like blobs. There's too much white."

 So we backed up and worked on the processes that made sense to each person.
Trimming a rough edge
Adding leaves to a painting
A bit of green linen for ground
Adding color to the background
One woman painted the tree's edges green.  I handed her a brush with orange paint on it, and she carefully over-painted all the leaves.
a second layer of color

 Then she painted the trunk orange. And smiled a huge smile.

I come home to world news and this work seems so small. But it requires time, attention, patience, creativity and quantities of love. We could all use more of that.

 "Your class is a constant in a sea of change," a director assured me. "What you do makes them happy. We see the effects for hours afterwards."

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