Artist Sharon Dipity worked closely with Activities Co-ordinator Sarah Cairns at Bantry General Hospital on the ‘Tool box’ project over an extended period, revisiting it over 2016 -2017 on the making of an interactive, sensory tool box.
The project began with the process making mono-prints and pencil drawings referencing artist Jim Dine’s ‘Ten winter tools’ and Rosie Cleary’s pen and ink drawings which were at the time being exhibited at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre in an exhibition called ‘UNFOLD’ . Participants enjoyed the mono-print process and the discovering or reveal of the prints on the underneath of the paper.
Conversation around different types of tools and tool kits for various activities including looking at an antique tool box with vintage woodworking tools familiar to some of the residents developed into the full construction of a tool box, made entirely by the participants from scratch!
Sarah Cairns says of the sensory tool box: “Aside from the obvious attraction for people that worked with tools throughout their lives we saw the opportunity with this project to double up as a sensory box. Thomas Aquinas (c1225 – 1274) said “The senses are a kind of reason. Taste, touch and smell, hearing and seeing, are not merely a means to sensation, enjoyable or otherwise, but they are also a means to knowledge – and are, indeed, your only actual means to knowledge.” It is with these senses that we experience and know our surroundings, and in the environment of nursing homes and care centres these sensory projects are greatly appreciated and even more vital. With this in mind we wanted to squeeze as many sensory items covering as many senses as possible on and in our tool box. We obtained tools that were made 100 years ago most of them wooden, and witnessed people using the tools with memories stored in another part of our brains/bodies remembering and teaching us the appropriate ways of holding them (like a well trodden pathway that has overgrown that has made its way again.)
February to May 2017
‘I enjoyed doing that, I never thought I’d end up doing that again’ Participant, former market gardener, after drawing gardening tools.’
‘The only way to get anything done in the house was to start it yourself and make a mess of it. He’d wade in then and say “Come out of that, I’ll do it”. He was a genius with woodwork.’ J.McG