Featured

A Visit to ZSL London Zoo: Summer 2017

Tags: #LondonZoo #SummerOuting #social
Banner Image credit: Ryan Prince Art.

On Sunday 16 July, we went on our first group social visit to ZSL London Zoo and we were quite fortunate to have good weather throughout our 4 hour visit, except for very light showers right at the end of the day. We were keen for our VI’s, family and companions to have a memorable and fun day out, exploring some of the animal enclosures and visitor areas throughout the zoo. We also had the opportunity to check out some of the facilities including the shops, Amphitheatre and the Terrace Restaurant.

A view of the Penguin Beach. There are 3 penguins to the left of this photograph, all perching comfortably on the side of the beach. There is a outbuilding in the background, with 2 large trees close by. In the foreground is a view of the clear blue water.

Image: A view of the Penguin Beach.
Image credit: MaMoMi.

ZSL London Zoo

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) was founded in 1826 and is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. Their groundbreaking science and active conservation projects are now in more than 50 countries and their two Zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Our Visit

From visiting the Land of the Lions, birds in the Snowdon Aviary, the giraffes in Into Africa, the Tiger Territory, Gorilla Kingdom, the Penguin Beach and a walk-through of the tropical birds enclosure that is called the Blackburn Pavilion, the zoo provided an intriguing space and ideal location for a group social visit. With over 20,166 animals (the official figure from 1st of January 2017) at ZSL London Zoo, there was a lot to view, experience, enjoy, have lots of conversations around and learn from.

Images, clockwise from top: Andrew giving a little intro on entry to the zoo; Lynn and Victoria have a chat; a view of the Tiger Territory through the protective glass; Camels feeding; the group listening to the Macaws as they are being fed; Devaki and our support team and family all stroking the goats in the Touch Zone; and Ramona and Jean with support team.
Image credit: Ryan Prince Art.

Admittedly, we did not expect to see all the animals but the time spent was just about right for us as we weaved around and negotiated so many outdoor spaces and indoor animal enclosures. It was an even more enjoyable day as the weather in London was quite nice, with only a few minutes of light drizzles observed near the end of our visit.

Access

It was great to see that the zoo had a lot of accessible areas, with places like the Land of the Lions and the Tiger Territory wheelchair friendly and with lifts. We also noted that walking around was quite easy with most of the paths made with tarmac. There were also several disabled toilets located around the zoo, and for our pitstop for lunch, we chose to use the toilets by the Terrace Restaurant.

There was a limited number of wheelchairs available for hire which can be booked in advance. Understandably, the zoo has a number of listed buildings like the penguin pool, which restricts the upgrade needed to make it physically accessible to wheelchair users and children.

Assistance dogs are not currently permitted inside ZSL London Zoo because some of their animals react negatively to the presence of dogs. The Zoo is working with Guide Dogs UK to resolve this and hope to be able to welcome guide dogs to certain areas of the zoo in the future.

Finally

This was an incredibly fun day and we’d recommend ZSL London Zoo as a viable place to visit. We shall be planning more group visits in the future, with a focus on specific animals, enclosures and sensory experiences.

Images: On the left are Jean and her companion; on the right is a group photograph with all VI’s, family, companions and MaMoMi support team.
Image credit: Ryan Prince Art.

Thank you to the staff at ZSL London Zoo, with a special mention of the Discovery and Learning department, and the Press Office.

London Zoo Tiger Territory

Image: The group walking into the Tiger Territory
Image credit: Ryan Prince Art

Andrew Mashigo
MaMoMi

Advertisements

Design and Play: Exploring Designer Maker User

The Design Museum | 9 September 2017

The Design and Play tour of the Designer Maker User collection at the Design Museum was our opportunity to review the impact of play in design, taking a view of creative play and concluding with an opportunity to design and make unique objects.

Taking a tour of Design Museum’s permanent collection, the Designer Maker User exhibition, you note that the almost 1,000 items of twentieth and twenty-first century design objects on display viewed design through the angles of and the continuing interaction between the designer, manufacturer and user.

Image: The meet and greet prior to the tour, and start of the tour at the entrance of the Designer Maker User exhibition
Image credit: MaMoMi images © All rights reserved
Photographs: Ryan Prince Art

The Timeline of Design
The pre-industrial era was a period when everyday objects were made by craftsmen in a process shaped by skill and precedent. The rapid growth of Industrialisation from the 18th century introduced greater possibilities for creating designs in great volume but many observers and users still wanted to protect the dignity of craftsmanship.

Rejecting Industrialisation gained momentary drive in the mid 19th century but the opportunity to deliver mass-produced products, made in less time, and meeting standardised specifications with the use of machine production realised through batch production, made business sense and encouraged the modern designer to embrace the idea of machine and industry.

Creative Play
Many experts believe that a child’s early experience of play have a formative effect on their motor skills and on their psychological and emotional development. This tour draws on the benefits of play in the design process, particularly highlighting traditional crafting and making processes, using elements of creative play that explores our senses as we explore various materials and different elements of creativity.

Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul” – Friedrich Froebel, Designer (1782 – 1852)

Edited Images_09

Image: At the Creative Play display, Designer Maker User exhibition
Image credit: MaMoMi images © All rights reserved
Photograph: Ryan Prince Art

The Creative Workshop
The design of a product involves a range of steps that can include goal setting, research, getting a design brief, fabrication, testing and implementation. This tour and workshop helps us better understand the uniqueness of traditional craft-making methods while sharing the benefits of mechanised mass-production methods. But we will make sure it is also about play and having fun.

Play is an important part of the growth of a child but as we develop into adults, we stop playing so much. We get so bugged-down by work that we forget the value of play. During this workshop led by Lynn Cox, a visually impaired creative practitioner and freelance disability and visual equality trainer, we use craft-making processes to create several objects of design.

Image: Workshop activity in the Creative workshop
Image credit: MaMoMi images © All rights reserved
Photograph: Ryan Prince Art

Closing Note: Advocating for social Inclusion
An important goal of an access programme is to provide accommodations that enables individuals with a disability to participate fully and independently in social life, and the museum encourages its disabled visitors to participate in its public programme.

One way of approaching this, from a personal point of view, is to enhance opportunities and encourage an environment where able and disabled visitors can together participate in public events. The idea that events or activities should be reserved only for a particular audience causes or promotes marginalisation, or put in another way, social exclusion. Social Inclusion challenges barriers, values and behaviours, and by creating an inclusive learning environment, we actively support the goals of an inclusive society.

Social Inclusion is the process of improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of people, disadvantaged on the basis of their identity, to take part in society.” – World Bank, 2013

The Design Museum’s multisensory tours are a key event for our disabled visitors but we also encourage other audiences to participate in our tours and events, especially when it does not deny a disabled visitor the opportunity to participate in the said event(s).

This Design and Play tour had its highest ratio of sighted participants to date, making up approximately half the number of participants, and is something we will continue to monitor and advocate. It is important to us that we continue to be an agency of positive social change.

A huge thank you goes to Bernard Hay, Producer, Adult Learning, Design Museum, to Lynn Cox, our workshop facilitator, and our sighted guides for their continued support.

Our next tour:
The next tour at the Design Museum is on Saturday 18th of November and will visit the Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition, taking a snapshot of the very best in innovative and contemporary design from the past year. More information to be published soon.

Andrew Mashigo
Founder and Freelance facilitator
MaMoMi

Action Painting: A Musical Composition

“Action Painting” is a musical composition created in response to a painting from our 2016 Dialogue Beyond Sight Exhibition. This musical composition was done at the chamber orchestra, in Malaga, Spain, by music composer and orchestra conductor Mr. Antonio Moral Jurado, and reveals a process that mimics the relation and points of union between approaches to a pictorial work and approaches to a musical work.

Spanish artist Ismael Moga attended our collaborative exhibition, and was one of the many sighted artists who contributed immensely to the dialogue around cross-disciplinary practice with visually impaired and blind creative practitioners. His painting, AfterHere, was created during a workshop activity run by British artist Rachel Gadsden, who co-curated the exhibition.

13668920_1514533931906332_4653162121655530596_o
AfterHere, painting by Ismael Moga

Image: AfterHere, by Ismael Moga.

“Action Painting” uses reference points such as style, movement, speed, energy and all those elements that give surface and colour to the painting’s texture. It also uses as a starting point the musical work, idealisation and abstraction of the creative process in the creation of the watercolour painting “AfterHere”.

In this composition, Ismael was looking to create a framework for action, by channelling certain sounds and gestural impulses happening through the harmonic and temporal spaces, which may sometimes be limiting. “Its leads to the obtaining of certain timbral or tonal determinations and colour implications, a function of the alternation between themselves”, Ismael said.
Below is the musical composition ACTION PAINTING, by Mr Antonio Moral Jurado.

Credits:

Artist: Mr Ismael Moga.
Musical composition title: Action Painting.
Author: Mr Antonio Moral Jurado, 2017.Music commissioned by Mr. David García Carmona, Director of Chamber Orchestra of the CSM of Malaga, Spain.
Director of Orchestra: David García Carmona.

Dialogue Beyond Sight exhibition is a MaMoMi project supported by Arts Council England

The Designer Maker User: A Design Museum Tour

This was an Introductory tour of Designer Maker User, the Design Museum’s permanent exhibition. The tour explored the exhibition’s displays and exhibits and was designed to provide an introduction to contemporary design, looking at the ways in which we engage with design.

On what turned out to be a really beautiful sunny day in Kensington, London, on the morning of Saturday 10 June 2017, we met our blind and visually impaired Design Museum visitors at the museum entrance and went up to the second floor where the DMU exhibition is installed.

Some Curiosities And Thoughts.
Design has evolved over time and this session was designed to provide a discourse around the continuing interaction between designers, makers and users, and the development of the role of design. Some of my questions were;

  • Have our human needs helped shape our design needs?
  • Have all design inventions been of a necessity or out of a desire?
  • Have we (users) shaped design or has design shaped the way we live?

The Tour.
Our participants were taken up to the entrance of the DMU, noting the timeline that graces the entrance to the exhibition. The earliest entry on the timeline was from 1759 with Josiah Wedgwood and the birth of design, following three different industrialisation periods through to the 3rd Industrial Revolution of the 21st century, with 2012 the last entry on that timeline.

As the DMU features almost 1,000 items of twentieth and twenty-first century design, I decided we would view a small selection of objects. The Anglepoise, the wooden Kitchen model, Olympic torch, Phonosuper SK5 record player, the Juicy Salif and BigRep One 3D printer were our stops along the tour of the exhibition.

606_980-DABF26C9-C182-470C-B55A-27F7330B1B4F
The Anglepoise Lamp by George Cowardine

Image: The Anglepoise Lamp by George Cowardine.
Image credit: The Design Museum.

I enjoyed viewing innovative designs and the 3D printer. I learnt a lot more about the origin of design and the processes – James Hallam

Our final stop on the tour was the BigRep One 3D Printer. Not surprisingly, this was a really big winner, providing real-life examples of 3D objects that could both be handled and tested. Additive manufacturing, the process in which 3D printer layer and produces items, has brought a transformation of the 3D printer from laboratory equipment into a consumer product.

20170531_114646
3D printed objects produced by the BigRep One 3D printer

Image: Some 3D printed objects produced by the BigRep One 3D printer.
Image credit: MaMoMi.
All objects property of the Design Museum.

The Creative Workshop.
The workshop gave us an opportunity to review the introduction to DMU and discuss any observations identified on the tour. We explored some objects in the museum’s handling collection, helping to enhance the limited exploration during the tour. Products like the Anglepoise Original Type 1227, designed by George Cowardine, with its unique spring based aluminium arm mechanism, the Juicy Salif by Philippe Starck and its sleek and abstract design which was unfortunately only a triumph of form over function because of the several issues with steam from the sprout scalding the user, and therefore discontinued, to the Lilliput Salt and Pepper set designed by Stefano Giovannoni for Alessi, were all great items to have lengthy discussions around.

As users, the participants left with a really valuable knowledge of the design processes, and some of the criteria designers and makers have to iterate over in the decisions to create, design and manufacture products.

It was really good looking at the different iconic design items and also lear how design came about and has changed over the years – Ramona Williams

Images.
Top left: Participants next to the BigRep 3D Printer.
Top right: At the Creative Workshop.
Bottom: Participants, Companions and the facilitator Andrew Mashigo in the Creative Workshop.
Image credit: MaMoMi

Credits:
Multisensory Tour Facilitator: Andrew Mashigo, MaMoMi.
Tour Programmer: Bernard Hay, Producer Adult Learning, Design Museum.
Banner Image of Designer Maker User Exhibition: Luke Hayes.

#newdesignmuseum #designermakeruser #mamomi

Bike-Ability: The Cycle Revolution

Bicycle wheel placed on a table, showing the spokes in detail

In an era when cycling has become one of the main ways of getting around, and for many, a way of getting around the city cheaper, it is clear that the cycling boom is here to stay. The increase in the last decade, with some statistics claiming it to be as high as 60%, has seen bicycles make up 25% of the vehicles in the morning commute. That’s an outstanding figure!

Bike-Ability: The Cycle Revolution, was held Saturday 9th of April, and was a multisensory tour in response to the current Cycle Revolution exhibition at Design Museum, London. The exhibition runs from 18 November 2015 to 30 June 2016, celebrating the diversity of contemporary cycling in Britain from every day commuting to Olympic level competition, and looking at where design and innovation may take the riders of the future.

The Studio Session:

Participant holding up a bicycle wheel on a table, with her hands at the centre of the spokes, and about 1 foot away from her face.
Image: A participant exploring a Cycle Wheel and it’s Spokes.

The tour started in the 1.5 studio with a discussion around current accessibility issues and some of the implementation of reasonable adjustment by institutions and other work places. Our focus on this tour was to explore materials and function, and how these materials used in the design of bicycles affects their function and usability. The history of bike-making itself reveals a host of materials, from steel, which is very tough but very heavy, to aluminium which is a lot lighter and will not rust, unlike steel, to the carbon fibre bikes which are almost 4 times stronger than steel but a lot more expensive, to the bamboo bikes, which have been quoted as been stronger by weight than steel.

So my question, to get us started, was to ask what memories we have of our first bicycles as kids, and what that experience was like?

Participant holding a bicycle frame, at chest height, and exploring the tactile detail of the A-frame.
Image: A participant handling the Bicycle A-frame.

We compared steel, aluminium and carbon fibre frames and quite evidently, it was clear that the aluminium frame was a lot lighter than the steel frame and it also does not rust like the steel frame will, but the carbon fibre frame was much lighter than the aluminium frame but also a lot more expensive.

Almost 4 times stronger than steel, the lightweight carbon fibre frame can be woven into shapes that metals cannot be made into, and where metals need welding at corners and joints, carbon fibres can be woven in one complete shape. Its durability makes it the choice of Olympic and all tour de France cyclists.

Participant holding a loop wheel close to her as she runs her hands around the rubber wheel
Image: A participant holding the loopwheel close to her and running her hands around the wheel.

The Loopwheel is a bicycle wheel that looks very much like a wheelchair or pushchair wheel and it uses an alternative to spokes to provide a more comfortable ride. The loopwheel springs which are the blue parts of the wheel positioned to replace bicycle spokes are constructed from carbon composite strips developed in conjunction with an archery bow manufacturer. These provide massive shock absorption so that what would have been a bumpy rides becomes a perfectly smooth ride. They are a lot more expensive than the regular wheels but do not need the maintenance that spokes may need.

Participants holding the UltraBike kit and Julie from UltraCane stands in-between them explaining how it works
Image: Participants holding the UltraBike as Julie from UltraCane explains how the technology works.

The UltraBike is an ultrasound kit designed to allow blind or visually impaired riders to cycle independently. The kit fixes onto the centre of the handlebars on any bicycle and is completely detachable.

The kit contains two ultrasound sensors that are positioned on the front, and these sensors point directly forward but also angled slightly outwards by 5 degrees. This ensures that the sensors can detect not just what is in front of the cyclist but also what is on either side of them.

This is the UltraBike kit's factor arm on the table, with the yellow button sensor showing.
Image: The tactor button on the arm of the UltraBike kit vibrates when the sensors detect an obstacle.

The tactor button is like an antenna that is used by touching, and the word tactor itself comes from the latin word tangier, which means to touch. The tactor buttons will vibrate when the sensors detect the boundary of the cycle track that is ridden around, giving ample warning so the cyclist is able to steer away from obstacles and stay on course.

Future Bike: Live Challenge:

The future bike live challenge explored the future of bicycle building and the Bamboo Bicycle Club with the Autumn Yard Design Collective were at hand to show our participants some of the processes involved in making a bamboo bike. This session was not just about building a bamboo bike because the challenge pushed the limits of their bamboo bike frames with the unique addition of 3D printed, carbon fibre reinforced lugs.

A participant holds 2 bamboo frames at chest height and smiles as she places the bamboo sticks in the shape of a cross.
Image: A participant holds 2 bamboo frames together, smiling as she feels the texture and strength of the bamboo.

Bamboo is said to be stronger by weight than steel, which means 5 kilograms of bamboo gives you more strength and tensility than 5 kilograms of steel. That is why we hear of bamboo bridges and multi-story scaffolding in places like Vietnam.

Building performance bamboo bicycles is an intensive and lengthy process but when done properly, the rewards can be great, producing bicycle frames that are both stiff and durable, nimble and confident, and lively and smooth.

A bamboo bike displayed at the Design Museum.
Image: A bamboo bike displayed at the entrance of the Design Museum.

Bamboo Bicycle Club conceived the idea to combine high-tech, open-source 3D printed components, with low tech, naturally sourced bamboo tubes. Teaming up with Oxford Brookes who specialise in the testing and analysis of 3D printed technology, vital expertise has gone into the realisation of this project.

Using 3D printed, carbon fibre reinforced lugs and bamboo frames, the goal is to prototype an open source bike that can be easily replicated by anyone.

The UltraBike Demonstration:

The UltraBike kit mounted on a bicycle and ready to use.
Image: The UltraBike kit mounted on a bicycle and ready to use.

We had a demonstration of the UltraBike with our participants and got to understand how the technology works in real life situation. The sensors detect at a range of 8 metres though this setting can be changed to suit the specific requirements of a cycle track.

On this occasion and as we were at the museum’s premises, we did not have a cycle track to test the full range and capability of the UltraBike but we did give all participants the opportunity to test how the kit feels to the touch, how easy the controls were to use, and how the various range settings allow the cyclist to detect things well ahead of themselves. This is a biomimicry of how bats and dolphins use sonar feedback and echolocation to find their way around.

Participant about to get on the UltraBike
Image: A participant about to have a short trial run on the UltraBike.

By giving the rider the ability to detect obstacles well ahead of themselves, the UltraBike range detection will allow the cyclist time to turn into a bend without cycling too acutely into or off the side of the track. The nearer you get to an obstacle or the boundary of the track, the higher the level of vibration. An understanding of the intricate feedback from the sensors helps the rider define the layout of the space around and this is what gives the rider the manoeuvre-ability to ride around a supervised cycle track, and in cycling clubs.

Cycle Revolution exhibition runs from 18 November 2015 to 30 June 2016.

Credits:
Handling objects property of the Design Museum
UltraBike kit, by UltraCane
Bamboo Bike, by Bamboo Bicycle Club

Note:
The Design Museum will be closing its current site on 30 June 2016, and will relocate to the former Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington, to open on 24 November 2016.

MaMoMi. All rights reserved 2016


 

 

Displacement and Migration: mapping and soundscape

Designers in residence is a core part of Design Museum’s programme. Now in its 9th year, it reflects the museum’s commitment to providing support for designers in the early part of their careers.

The 2015 exhibition focuses on the theme of Migration, with four designers selected for their innovation and original thinking. Stephanie Hornig, Chris Green, Alexa Pollman and Hefin Jones were the Designers in Residence 2015.

The plan:

The Displacement and Migration multisensory tour was held on Saturday 9 January, and to have a good opportunity to investigate the narrative and critical nature of this exhibition, we divided the tour into three areas; Migration and Displacement, Migration and Mapping, and Migration and Soundscape.

The subject:

Migration and Displacement.
We can’t really talk about Migration without making a reference to what has been described as probably the world’s worst human tragedies, the current forced migration of people affecting parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. There is an argument against such a major displacement of people but research reveals that human migration has happened throughout history:

▪The biblical Exodus of the Israelite’s in the Old Testament records that “about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children” left Egypt. –   Exodus 12:37

▪ In Quebec history, 925,000 French Canadians were said to have left for the United States between 1840 and 1930, mostly due to political and economic reasons.

▪One of the greatest waves of immigrants to the USA was during the 1820’s to 1890’s, when more than 5 million immigrants arrived in America from Ireland and Germany.

▪Between the 16th and 19th centuries, about 11 million Africans were forced into slavery and brought to the Americas.

▪The Jewish Exodus from Arab and Muslim countries saw the Jewish migration include nearly all the 140,000 Jews from Algeria emigrating, mostly to France after Algerian independence in 1962.

Migration involves movement, mobility and transition and we can explore that idea with several objects, systems and processes. Objects are ideal for exploring spatial displacement and this tour uses definitive elements like form, shape, texture and density to explain its day-to-day manifestation. One question we asked was; do you know animals like the Caledonian bird use flexible thinking to solve multi-stage problems? When tested, a crow knows that dropping stones or gravel into a half-filled jar of water will cause the water level to rise to the top, making access to the water easier.

The Hourglass is another excellent object to explore elements of the cause and effect of material displacement. You clearly hear the sound of the sand travelling from one part of the hourglass to the other.

Migration and Mapping:
Chris Green’s Aerial Futures display shows 2 four-engine and 1 three-engine drone each mounted on metal stands. Chris’s practice forges new relationships between people, place and the city and this display was a main part of our interrogation of movement, mapping, surveillance and tracking.

It is worth noting that though most drones are 4-engine, Octocopters or eight-engine drones are more efficient for high-risk or longer range use so that a possible failure to the first set of engines is not terminal, allowing for extraction of the device from its operation.

Drone by Chris Green
Image: Chris Green’s  4-engine drone.
Copyright Chris Green, Drone 2015

Drones have become increasingly popular with flying enthusiasts but are also famously and excellently used in extensive and long-range research and activities like monitoring, surveillance and exploration. Because they are silent, precise and can be operated from a distance without detection, drones have excellent use during war, for exploring space and researching volcanoes. They are also used in farming and for mapping terrains.

A good example is the use of drones during the investigation of Katla, Iceland’s most active and dangerous volcano. Scientists are able to monitor seismic activity by capturing aerial images which detail 3D maps of the area. They also place monitors as close as possible to the core of the eruptions so GPS tracking systems gather data, which they feedback in real time.

Using Telematics is key to the work that goes on during mapping. Telematics are devices that merge telecommunications and infomatics and this includes anything from GPS systems to navigation systems. We see them featured in anything from vehicle trackers to hands-free mobile calling, and our mobile phones are an example of a Telematics device.

Animals also have very sophisticated processes and tracking abilities that help with mapping. An example is how bats use echoes from clicks to convey not only their distance to a target, but also the size, shape, speed, and vector of the objects movement. The bloodhounds ability to track game, the humpback whale’s ability to migrate from Antarctica to eastern Australia to give birth and mate during the winter and spring, and the rattle snake’s ability to track its prey after striking are among varying elements of tracking and mapping that are constantly used by animals and in wildlife.

Echolocation allows dolphins to tell the difference between types of fish, and can identify size, shape and weight by the echo that comes back to them. They can also easily discern the difference between objects that are different in material composition, even if visually identical, by their different densities.

Alexa Pollman’s Indivicracy display is about the concept of a future nation where a new form of government for the 21st century is created, in which societies exist without borders or territory. Allowing for free movement, the citizen’s are constantly moving between places, with governance in place to protect individuals who choose to migrate borders of settled societies.

Trackpack. For DM Jan blog
Image: Alexi Pollman’s Trackpack.
Copyright Alexi Pollman, Trackpack 2015.

Alexi also challenges the current notion of “wear” and her display suggests ideas for future garments like the super-insulated gloves called Typers, the masks, the Jumping-jackers shoes and the Trackpack, what i can only describe as a one-piece raincoat attached to a back-pack and constructed into a shopping trolley on wheels.

Migration and Soundscape.
Sound is transmitted from a source to the surrounding air when particles vibrate or collide, and this vibration passes the sound energy along to our ears. Without any particles to vibrate, we would not hear the sound. With this knowledge, our activity explored various sounds and recorded our responses.

Sound exercise at the Design Museum

Using the learning studio, our Soundscape activity involved the use of six different sounds. Participants listened to and identified various sounds at intervals, and were asked what each sound represented to them. They could either draw or name their response, whether as a visual representation or an emotion, and the results were really interesting. Participants said they experienced various emotions, from elation, nostalgia, happiness to soothing relaxation.

The next tour:
The next multisensory event will tour the current Cycle Revolution exhibition at the end of march. This tour will examine the revolution of bicycle design, and investigate material and function. It will also include a demonstration of a bicycle for the blind and visually impaired.

More information, date and booking details will be uploaded to Design Museum’s website shortly.

MaMoMi. All rights reserved 2016.

From Abstraction to Tactile Expressions: Images of my Emotions.

Magdalena Rutkowska.

“Always painting, always working” was probably the first few words she said to me during our conversation. Magdalena Rutkowska runs Ike Studio from her home in Northern Ireland. Ike is a name taken from the Hawaiian Huna philosophy, whose first principle is Ike (pronounced ee-kay), meaning “The world is what you think it is”.

 Sunny Butterfly

Sunny Butterfly.
Quilling on Canvas  50 cm x 40 cm

Viewing Magdalena’s artworks, you notice a plethora of works including paintings, crafts, home decor, Office decor and greetings cards. These works have an influence directly from nature, and visually expressed in various designs ranging from national flags all the way to various decorative patterns and abstractions. Interestingly, because of the way Magdalena perceives and executes some of the designs, she sometimes wonders if the images she creates even exists in nature.

Her greatest inspiration is nature, and that greatly influences her use of vibrant and expressive colour ranges. The depictions she works in reveals her dexterity for detail; detail which is even more astonishing when you realize that Magdalena has been totally blind from the age of 6 years. She has no retina in her eyes and though having no sight presents several immense challenges in her life, she is determined to live a life as full and as rich as is possible, exploring her other senses, especially the sense of touch and hearing, to give her this ability.

These are images of my emotions.” – Magdalena Rutkowska

 MagdalenaImage1

Tree of the Paleozoic 
White paper on black card
18 cm x 30 cm

MaMoMi: How would you describe your emotions in your artworks?

Magdalena Rutkowska: It is a bit difficult to explain how my emotions can be seen as artworks but they are a visual and tactile expression of some of the feelings i experience daily. I perceive a lot of images of flowers and trees and of other nature influences.

Back in Poland where i am originally from, i lived around beautiful forests and this early experience still continues to inspire my love for nature. This influence causes me to see various projects in my sleep, long before i get the opportunity to do anything with them. I often wake up wanting to create so many of these images and my memory and Imagination, combined with my manual skills, allows me to create various types of arts and crafts. I use my visual memory of colours, shades and shapes to put together the different ideas. For me, every letter of the word has a colour code.

I know my paintings also help a lot of people externalize and overcome their problems.” – Magdalena Rutkowska

Tulip

Tulip 
20 cm x 25 c m

MaMoMi: How do you relate a colour code to a word or shape?

M.R.: One of the projects i did some time ago was done making small pictures with four paintings of flowers, and the client then came back wanting even bigger paintings. I had to find a way to replicate that idea onto a bigger canvas space.

Every colour i intended to use in that colour palette was placed in a box. I needed to remember where each colour was and to do this, i placed each of them in particular boxes and code every box. I now have at least 20 boxes. I place bright yellow in one box, darker yellow in the next one, warmer colour in the following one, and the next one had fuchsia, and so on.

It is important to me that i remember which colours i have used, and in what order, as this helps me have control of the colour scheme or any pattern i am creating. But this also means i have to keep and maintain a huge level of concentration throughout.

MaMoMi: What is your most used technique?

M.R.: It usually take a lot of time to put together and make my artworks. My most popular technique is the Quilling paper method. By building the outlines of paper, i devise various ways of filling to form the shapes required. This helps me create decorative and 3-Dimensional designs, many of which are popular for Home and Office decor.

I use strips of paper that are rolled, shaped and glued together, and reproduce the needed shapes by twisting and curling the paper strips with my fingers. They are then bonded on the canvas or background cardboard. I have sixteen different categories listed on my website.

Creating these artworks and crafts is also a way of showing people that blind artists can also be very creative, with very attractive and highly desirable items. But it is also my way of engaging with the sighted community and it will be great and appreciative if people can enjoy my creative talents as much as i do. I love nature and in return nature has given me a positive approach to life.

Contact:

To commission or purchase her artworks, contact Magdalena via email at magdalena@ikestudio.co.uk
Website: www.ikestudio.co.uk

Note: This blog was originally published in March 20 2014.

Life’s little Adventures

Julie Imus.

Julie Imus is a visually challenged American artist residing in Iowa. A lover of nature, animals and the outdoors, she is an adventurer whose faith in God has given her the ability to overcome the challenges of oil painting with very little sight.

She was always interested in painting from an early age and learnt to paint even better between art classes at school and the Bob Ross programs. Bob Ross was an American landscape painter and television host who was best known as the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, a television program that aired in the US and several other countries between 1983 and 1994.

In June of 2007 Julie lost the vision in her left eye, after already having had retinal damage in her right eye. At that point she thought she would never paint again but in the fall of 2011, she felt God very strongly told her to go back to painting, and as she says, “by God’s, hand I am still able to do so.”

The Hiding Place
THE HIDING PLACE
Oil on canvas. 16 x 20 inch

“This painting came into existence because of a Bob Ross lesson I was watching one day. In this particular episode, Bob was instructing viewers how to make a whole forest of trees in a simple way. I was keen to try out this method and started thinking about the woods and remembered how i used to ride in the woods years ago, and seeing a fawn hiding in the bushes. So here we see how a childhood adventure, Bob Ross instruction, my imagination and love of nature collectively gave me what I needed to paint this piece.”

Winter Feed
WINTER FEED
Oil on canvas. 18 x 24 inch

Julie’s brother Jay is a hunter, and currently elk hunting in Colorado. He had told her, one day a few weeks previously, that he would like a painting of a whitetail buck deer, something to fit into a “woodsy” theme going through his house. So she painted Winter Feed for his birthday in September, a great addition to his collection.

Wild Within

WILD WITHIN

Oil on canvas. 16 x 20 inch

“As some of you may know, I love horses and rode daily when I was a kid. The only times i did not ride were on stormy days and very cold winter days. One day i saw a photo online of this horse, and i thought she was so gorgeous I had to paint her. I want to do some black and white paintings as i think they look so good.

While I was painting this, a thought occurred to me, and I began to wonder how many domesticated horses would love to just run wild, hence the title of this painting. This is one painting i really enjoyed doing and my plan is to paint more black and white horses, and probably just adding one color for interest.”

To see more of Julie’s paintings or to commission her, contact by clicking here for the Julie Imus Art page on Facebook

Images used with the permission of Julie Imus. 2015

Note: Originally posted on September 19, 2015

Displacement and Migration: A multi-sensory tour

The next multi-sensory tour at the Design Museum is titled Displacement and Migration.

Design Museum Jan tour
Design Museum, Shad Thames, London
Date: Saturday 9 January 2016
Time: 14:00

This tour will investigate migration, displacement and movement. Starting at Designers in Residence 2015, this tour will highlight elements of movement and mapping. The tour includes a session in the museum’s Learning studio, to explore the resources and enable discussion around movement and mapping.

Tours are free for blind and partially sighted visitors and their companions, including exhibition entry.

Advance booking is recommended but not essential. The tour meets in the museum foyer 10 minutes before the session is due to begin.

If you are interested in this tour, please use the online form here or call +44 (0)20 7940 8782.

Read more at: http://designmuseum.org/plan-your-visit/access/touch-tours/displacement-and-migration-a-multi-sensory-tour#sthash.l5R5nK5l.dpuf

Walking: A lifestyle?

Walking: A lifestyle? is the latest in a series of multisensory tours programmed at the Design Museum, London, and was held on Saturday 3 October.

Walking: A lifestyle?

Investigating the sense and smell of shoes and the lifestyle of walking, this tour explores the current Camper exhibition, LIFE ON FOOT, taking us through the shoe-making process before closing with a walk in the local area.

Camper: LIFE ON FOOT.
This is the first exhibition of the Spanish footwear brand Camper, who in celebrating 40 years of shoe-making in the island of Mallorca, is showcasing their traditional shoe-making skills and contemporary design practice, giving visitors an insight into the processes involved in the design and manufacture of their shoes. Laid out in 7 sections, the exhibition covers Designing, Making, Materials and meaning, Communication, History, Global and Life on foot II.

The display:
As you step through the entrance, you note the distinct smell of rubber, dominating the look and feel of the exhibition. Rubber is a key component for making shoes and black rubber was used in covering much of the display units and the activity space. The other thing you almost immediately feel is the sense of scale and height, something that was quickly noted by some of our visually impaired participants.

Camper at the Design Museum
At the entrance to the Camper exhibition.

Walking through the Designing section, the display of shoes on the left shows a range of lasts, soles and uppers, all of which are not touchable. To the right, as you go through the Making section, you note a display of tools and different materials. Along the room towards the Materials and Meaning section is a display of a variety of Pelotas, one of Camper’s most successful shoes, the name Pelotas in itself meaning ball. Uniquely, all Pelotas have 87 balls on their soles.

Several videos show the manufacturing process, with one in particular showing over forty stages of footwear production, from drawing and pattern-making, all the way to molding, kneading, stitching and packaging. An extensive display of Wabi, a pioneering shoe that explored the potential for sustainability in footwear, shows Camper’s experimentation with different materials. Cork, polypropylene, wool, mint, lavender leaf, coconut and upholstery were used as a composite to make the uppers for Wabi. Though not financially viable for the company, this was a very innovative approach to some of their design and production processes. Also on display were swatches of various types of natural and synthetic upper materials like leather and nubuck, where the different textures, thickness and weights could be felt.

Over-view of the shoe-making process:
The opportunity to review the shoe-making process was a very valuable part of this tour. Several of the participants noted that getting a better understanding of how shoes are constructed was fascinating, something they thoroughly enjoyed. Using the Activity space, we benefited from the expertise of Diana Mashigo, a Footwear designer and Pedorthist, who gave an in-depth presentation of the many stages involved in the design and making of bespoke shoes, some of which we see below.

Drawing the outline of our feet  Cast of the feet The shoe-making session Foot skeleton

Image 1: Drawing an outline of the foot is the initial stage when taking detailed measurements. Using the same principle, taking a foot print using a Harris Mat will show the varying areas of pressure on the soles of the feet, enabling a bespoke maker to create footwear specific for the users needs.
Image 2: This is a cast of a person’s foot. A bespoke last can be created from the mold.
Image 3: This was a verbal description of the importance and relationship between shoes and foot health. Here, you see two of the participants.
Image 4: The foot skeleton shows the anatomy of the foot, with the facilitator explaining how the foot functions. The lasts (the yellow and wooden foot-shaped items on the table) dictates the width, shape, heel height and size of the shoes.

The tour closed with a walk in the local area, taking-in the views of the south-side of river Thames. For many, walking is a natural part of moving around, while others include walking as part of their exercise routine. Others find walking can be great mental stimulus, sometimes taking inspiration from the views along their walk.

Whatever you do with walking, we know it is a great part of our well-being. Next time you take a walk, reflect on what it means to you, and make observations of how it influences the way you feel.

Camper: LIFE ON FOOT, continues till November 1 2015.

The next multisensory tour at the Design Museum, Displacement and Migration, is scheduled for Saturday January 9 2016, from 2pm.
Booking information will be published in Design Museum’s website Access page.

Top two images used permission of Design Museum. All other images are by MaMoMi. 2015