SENSORY WHEELS SCHOOLS PROJECT
Sensory Wheels are born from the tradition of Tibetan Prayer Wheels into a collaborative project by Julia Desch.
Developed in 2019 with collaboration by Mark Austin, a wood artist and prior to Covid, these wheels in simplified form are intended to bring the essential benefits of touch back into our lives, especially in schools and for children with special needs. A trial is ready to begin with 2 schools when circumstances permit.
A small group of creative professionals has been brought together by Julia to develop this concept further and overcome the difficulties of allowing touch to foster natural and healthy sensory relationships in school situations. Key to these wheels are the panels of felted Wensleydale which itself fosters the pleasure of touch. A first Proposal has been created and funding is being sought. Increasing confidence in “Making Skills” with teachers is equally important to us.
The research of Professor Robin Dunbar, Oxford University on Evolutionary Psychology and that of Professor Francis McGlone at Liverpool John Moores University who runs the Somatosensory and Affective Neuroscience Group appears to underpin this thinking and we intend to engage more research interest in their usefulness. Recommended reading for anyone who wants to pursue this subject is “Sentient” by Jackie Higgins published 2021.
The first two wheels Earth and Sky were shown in 2019.
Created as a contemporary interpretation of the Buddhist Prayer Wheel tradition which is turned whilst sending out compassion to all sentient beings. Panels are Pure Wensleydale, soft felted in both natural and plant dyed colours . This panel is Mounted on Sussex sourced Cedar wood, designed by Julia Desch and made in collaboration with Mark Austin, Wood Artist (MJA-Wood https://www.mja-wood.com) Tactile qualities of Wensleydale fibre felted panels are noted for their appeal in softness and lustre, especially to those with special needs. Engoldenment relates to Andrew Harvey’s Translations of Kabir’s Poems (Engoldenment – A Year With Kabir), published 2021. Dimensions of the piece are approx: 68 cms high x 32 cms diameter).