A Truly Inspirational Visit

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Tegan Foley

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Good morning,

I wanted to blog today and tell you all about my fantastic trip to St Dunstan’s yesterday. It has left me feeling truly humbled and also in awe of some of the fantastic people I met there, namely forum member, Bill Mooney.

For those of you who haven’t already heard about this fantastic charity, then please do have a look at the website. St Dunstan’s provides lifelong support for visually impaired and blind ex-Service men and women, and they offer help in a variety of different ways. We visited the art and craft department and specifically had a look around the woodworking and woodturning facilities.

I was astounded at the work many have produced, especially the woodcarvings. The tutor, Leigh, told me about one St Dunstaner who is completely blind, and has been for the last 50 years – he has never even seen his wife. He carves scale aircraft from blocks of wood and manages to incorporate incredible detail. It really is unbelievable and truly inspirational.

I learnt of the many ways in which woodturners have to adapt, though tool modification, the use of visually impaired apparatus, etc. They use little stickers called ‘bump ons’ extensively, and these are stuck on tools, the lathe and various other equipment so the visually impaired turner can get a sense of feel. It is extraordinary.

Also, if you live in the Brighton area, or indeed, if you fancy a trip to this fantastic and inspirational place, then St Dunstan’s is having an Artist Open House throughout May as part of the Brighton Festival. This is a free event and allows you to see paintings, mosaics, sculptures and woodturnings, all made by St. Dunstaners and staff. You can also see the historic listed building and enjoy events and refreshments in the Inner garden. See the website.

I’ll be writing a full feature on St Dunstans, so watch out for that in a few issues’ time.

Have a great day,

Tegan

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