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"Powerful and evocative": Artist's exhibition at Craft Cafe reflects on dementia's effects

We were very privileged to have Edinburgh artist Lesley Redfern unveil her exhibition of photography and short films at our Craft Cafe exhibition space in Edinburgh - the home of the workshops she attends with her mother, Greta.

Lesley Redfern's show Metamorphosis contained work exploring the effects of dementia on mind and body. Using shapes from nature to represent the changes dementia has upon the brain, the exhibition was intended to provoke debate on an a subject touching so many lives.

Greta has been a resident at Marian House in Morningside since 2014, a care home run by Viewpoint Housing Association. A creative person all her life, she has been a keen member of Craft Café workshops since she first moved into the home.

Each week, the group meets to paint, draw, make crafts and textiles, with this creative activity intended to have a positive impact on participants’ health and overall wellbeing.

With the group playing such an important role in their lives, Lesley was delighted to unveil her first public collection at the home of Craft Cafe.

"It was an ideal venue for the work as it is a hub for residents, their relatives, friends and carers. Hopefully this will engender a wider discussion about dementia and the place of the arts in care homes."

"The work uses natural forms as a metaphor for mutations in the brain. This is put into context by two sequences that reflect on alterations in perception of time and memory."

Lesley's work certainly generated some appreciative comments.

“Powerful and evocative images to give expression to the ephemeral and the ethereal that is the human mind," said Heidi, one attendee.

"The images helped me to see ourselves as part of the natural world, and gave a glimpse into the minds of dementia sufferers as they see the world."

Impact Arts runs two Craft Cafe workshops in Edinburgh: one at Marian House in Morningside, and the other at Lennox House in Leith. These are run in partnership with Viewpoint.

Through engaging in regular artistic workshops as a group, those with dementia experience positive effects upon social skills, routine and confidence while producing art in a relaxed environment.

Lesley is enthusiastic about the effect it has had upon Greta.

"Craft Cafe has provided stimulation, and the possibility of continuing with the art and craft she has pursued all her life.

"She has the chance to meet new faces and be part of a supportive and friendly community with a ‘can-do’ attitude.

"It’s also given me and Mum the opportunity to enjoy some quality relaxing time together."

For more about Impact Arts' work with older people, please visit this section of our website.

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