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Tapestry of Touch heads off from Leeds

— February 2014

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The Tapestry of Touch (detail). Image courtesy Sense

Tapestry of Touch – a ‘hands-on’ arts exhibition to raise awareness of sight and hearing loss

UK national deafblind charity, Sense, is launching a ‘hands-on’ arts exhibition to spread the word about sight and hearing loss.

The ‘Tapestry of Touch’, a massive tapestry made of thousands of pompoms, will offer visitors the chance to explore art through their sense of touch with a series of interactive accessible exhibitions around the UK.

Richard Kramer, Sense Deputy CEO, said:

For people who can’t see or hear too well touch can be important to help them find their way around, communicate, learn and connect with the world around them. Most art exhibitions are ‘hands-off’ – we wanted to create an accessible ‘hands-on’ experience for all audiences, to engage with art and understand a bit more about sight and hearing loss.

Visitors are invited to close their eyes and shut their ears to feel the artwork and find their way around the exhibition space, and eye masks and ear defenders are on hand for those who would like to try them. There will also be the chance to get creative and make more pompoms to add to the tapestry as the exhibition continues.

The tapestry was created as part of the ‘Great Sense Pompom Challenge’ – a campaign to raise awareness of deafblindness and dual sensory loss. Campaign supporters from across the UK and beyond – including India, Peru and Australia – crafted an astonishing 6,000 pompoms for the colossal tapestry.

Celebrity supporters, including fashion designer Alex Noble, celebrity stylist Katie Greengrass and artist Stella Vine, also created pompoms for the tapestry.

Made from a range of materials, from yarn and tinsel to paper and rubber and even supermarket bags, the pompoms – of all sizes, colours and textures – represent the immense creativity and bags of enthusiasm of everyone involved in the campaign.

During the ‘Great Sense Pompom Challenge’ pompoms went swimming with a synchro team in Birmingham, covered a head teacher at an Exeter school, climbed Scafell Pike, tried their luck at Bingo halls and were all proudly featured on an online platform visited by more than 3,000 people.

Now their journey continues with the ‘Tapestry of Touch Tour 2014’ starting from Leeds on 8 February and going on to venues all over the country including a final exhibition in London.

Tapestry of Touch Tour 2014 programme:

See also artist Tammy Ruggles' struggle to continue to make art with failing eyesight, in this month's Cassone.

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