Creative inspiration for people living with dementia

We all need a bit of creativity in our lives. The Napkin Project is a new initiative, just launched by Willis Newson which asks members of the public to use their skills to craft a beautiful object to help inspire people living with dementia. When is a napkin not a napkin? When it’s something to keep your hands busy. Or a bag. Or a vase. Or a memory aid. Intrigued? 

Find out more about the project and register to take part and embroider a napkin. Get those needles going!

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Over the past year Willis Newson has been working with two artists on art commissions for SaffronGardens, a new dementia care home being built by renowned provider of residential care, Brunelcare. One of the artists, Deirdre Nelson, noticed that residents were often fascinated by the textured edges of items.  For example, they would handle and explore objects such as the napkins they used at mealtimes.  A member of staff told her that one resident would join napkins together to carry her possessions around with her and that another used hers as a vase to hold flowers; in this way a napkin became more than just a napkin. This is where the Napkin Project began.

The Napkin Project has hundreds of plain napkins waiting for people’s creativity.  The public is being asked to register on the project’s blog and use their skills to embroider a unique and individual napkin.  A social media storm is being created around the project, and pictures and blog updates will be posted as the finished napkins flood in using Flickr, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages.  The finished napkins will be presented to the residents of SaffronGardens to help inspire them creatively. A number of practical craft workshops are also being held in Bristol as part of the project.

The Napkin Project is a collaborative project.  It is being run and managed by Willis Newson, specialist arts and health consultants based in Bristol.  The artist Deirdre Nelson, whose idea it was, is providing support and inspiration. Brunelcare and the staff and residents of Saffron Gardens will receive the finished napkins.  The project has been generously funded by Arts Council England and Bristol City Council.


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