This weeks art and craft workshop with the elderly was reminiscence based. I passed around vintage fish shaped molds used in the making of aspics and jellies, to trigger memories of past times related to food; foods that people cooked, what they ate, and even how they sourced or stored foods.
I sketched out fish on a paper plate for the nursing home residents to paint. As they painted they spoke about how their food was sourced when they were growing up. One lived on a farm by a river and told us about how when fishing she would beg her father to throw back the big cod as she found them too chewy. Such was the abundance of fish! Another lady spoke about cattle farming and not eating much fish whilst growing up on a farm. They stored their meats in a cool room under the house.
It's always interesting to speak with the elderly in nursing homes and aged care facilities, as they enjoy having someone to tell their stories to, and for me it highlights how much things have changed in a relatively short span of time.
None were all too familiar with cooking or eating aspics and even less so with the process of using a stencil. I assisted by holding the stencil in place over the painted fish as each added another layer of paint. They were very happy to see the patterns the stencil made once peeled back and asked me to sign their works to pop up on the wall. They were even happier to see that being school holidays, my daughter was along for the fun!