Facebook event page
GSA Exhibitions, The Glasgow School of Art
167 Renfrew Street, G36RQ Glasgow, United Kingdom
Reid Ground Floor Corridor
14 — 29 Oct 2017
Preview: 13 Oct 2017, 5-7pm
The Prosthetic Greaves project aims to deliver a beautiful crafted aesthetic for lower limb prosthesis covers, through a collaborative design process between artisans and amputees. In Scotland, there are around 1500 lower limb amputations every year. The common prosthetic design choices are either a foam limb-shaped cover, or a bare pole prosthesis. Research showed a large group of people prefer a different aesthetic than those options, yet for something as personal as a replacement body-part, there is only limited choice for aesthetics that have the same richness as other accessories we choose to surround ourselves with.
Jeroen Blom and Dr. Tara French, researchers at the Innovation School at the Glasgow School of Art Highlands and Islands Campus, set out to explore this issue. They developed a method to digitally design bespoke limb-shaped models that can be customised based on an amputee’s body shape and preferences. These models are used to create craft-specific templates that suit the materials and techniques. Using this method as a basis, the creative design process between artisans and amputees can focus on creating a shared background and deep understanding of the needs that can be translated into the Greave designs.
With the Prosthetic Greaves project, Jeroen and Tara worked closely together with artisans and amputees and to create a range of high quality decorative prosthesis covers. We call these covers Greaves, after the traditional piece of decorative armour worn on the shin. The quality of the resulting artefacts reflects years of artisanal practice, and provide a truly unique aesthetic.
The exhibition shows the co-design and making process, and displays the unique Greave from three artisans:
Karen Collins from Naturally Useful. Different types and colours of willow are woven into a beautiful, strong and lightweight shape. The Greave embodies the connection to nature by the use of naturally grown materials woven by hand. Amputee Carol took part in practicing the weaving of willow, strengthening the personal connection with the final Greave.
Naturally Useful is a willow weaving company based in Rafford, near Forres, Moray. The team use traditional methods to make baskets and other artefacts. Different coloured willows and weaving patterns creates fascinating combinations. The ecologically sustainable business also makes bespoke products from wool, felt and hides.
Scott Gleed from Gleed 3D. Scott combines casting techniques of white metal and crystal-clear resin to create a seamless integration of materials. The design of the Greave was done together with amputee Caitlin to represent her personal style. The front of the Greave shows a pattern of stockings and the rear combines metal and resin to create the seam of the stocking. The rear also has an angular design so it has its own unique shape rather than mirroring a human limb.
Gleed3D specialise in model-making, particularly of aquatic models. Scott Gleed is world-renowned for his life-size sharks and rays, and he has many years of experience in making models for international museums and heritage centres. His use of various casting materials and techniques lead to stunning aesthetics.
Roger Milton from Auldearn Antiques. The carefully selected timber highlights the imperfection of the burls on the material as its unique character. Burls occurs due to 'illness' of the tree, and the pattern that it creates is something truly unique to the tree and highly sought after by woodworkers. The beautiful imperfection of the Greave signifies the beautiful 'imperfection' of the human body through amputation, creating unity between Greave, prosthesis and amputee.
Auldearn Antiques is a renowned place for high quality antiques for over 25 years, offering furniture, decorative items and other accessories. The business, based in Auldearn, near Nairn in the Highlands of Scotland, also restore items and create their own unique pieces of furniture in their on-site workshop.
This project has evolved at the Innovation School at The Glasgow School of Art Highlands and Islands Campus. Research activity specialises in design innovation through new design practices, community engagement and co-creation of preferable futures.
The team at the Glasgow School of Art would like to say a massive thanks to the amazing collaborators: Caitlin, Carol and Chema for their inspiring openness in sharing their stories. And of course, artisans Karen, Roger and Scott for their creative attitude and invaluable time and effort in achieving an outcome we are all incredibly proud of. You have proven that this needs to be continued.
To find out more about the Prosthetic Greaves project and the research activity of the School; as well as the collaborators, please follow the links below:
Jeroen Blom ([email protected]
) and Dr. Tara French ([email protected]