Highlands & Islands

Glasgow School of Art project personalises prosthetic limbs

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Media captionThe project has brought together amputees and artisans

Craftspeople have been working with amputees who use artificial lower limbs to create more personalised prosthesis.

Jeroen Blom, a researcher at Glasgow School of Art's Highlands and Islands Creative Campus, brought the team of three artisans together.

They are Karen Collins, from Rafford, and Scott Gleed, of Relugas, both in Moray, and Roger Milton, from Auldearn in the Highlands.

They are working with three people who use prosthetic limbs.

Among the materials being used to make what are known as greaves is wood, while the skills involved include weaving.

Image copyright Jeroen Blom
Image caption Amputee Chema Perez and artisan Roger Milton

Mr Blom said: "Through this project three lower limb amputees have been able to have a full involvement in the creation of something very personal and unique to them and in so doing had a much greater sense of involvement and ownership."

"For the artisans, meanwhile, this has been an opportunity to apply and showcase their skills in a new area and to create very special partnerships with their collaborators in the co-design process.

"The aesthetics of the resulting greaves reflect the identity of the amputee as well as the artisanal process."

Image copyright Jeroen Blom
Image caption Wood is one of the materials being used in the project

One of the amputees, Caitlin McMullan, said discussions about her use of a prosthetic limb influenced the design work.

She said: "We spoke a bit about my experience of being an amputee, and my experience of before my amputation.

"It was good to think about the design of that, and talk about how I think the design is disability-awareness as well."

She added: "I like having choice, I like changing what my prosthesis would look like.

"I don't like to cover it up. I don't really see the point in trying to hide it. That's what I like about this project. It's making something really nice out of a prosthesis."

Image copyright Jeroen Blom
Image caption The aim of the project is to make prosthetic limbs more personal

Chema Perez, who along with Carol Sloan is another of the amputees, worked with craftsman Mr Milton on a wooden greave.

Mr Perez said: "The idea Roger had about having a piece of wood which is not really nice and shiny but something that has some marks of imperfection that tells you a story, was something that I was looking for.

"Something that reflects my experience to make it more personal."

The art school's Highlands and Islands campus is in Forres in Moray. Students and researchers use it as a base for studies in the Highlands and Islands.

Image copyright Jeroen Blom
Image caption Weaving is among the skills being used in making the prosthetics

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