Through in-depth research undertaken in memory recall workshops with patients and their visitors in the Medicine for the Elderly wards at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, textile artist Deirdre Nelson has achieved pieces which act as windows as well as orientation markers in a windowless and disorientating corridor. She has created an installation with a humorous, surreal slant yet which has strong recognizable elements appropriate for people with dementia and failing eyesight.
One of the aims of this work was to emphasize the often unrecognized interests of older generations. The imagery derived from workshops with patients is now being used to positive effect by therapists in memory recall work and mobility improvement along the corridor.
Memory and movement have thus been combined in an installation of contemporary black and white images with their Arcadian blue skies which depict well known locations around Edinburgh. These present a background on which related objects and people are printed and embroidered in singing colour. Interspersed with these pieces are instructions for dance steps which act as a visual and physical link between destinations, offering the viewer the opportunity to dance in their mind as they physically move along the corridor from image to image, quick stepping from the Bass Rock to Musselburgh, tangoing onwards to the final destination.
The works have been constructed from an innovative fusion of traditional and contemporary techniques, combining fine embroidery with computer manipulated images and innovative digital printing onto silk.