A couple photos and description of hand-pressing/thermoforming Bullet Belt Diagram 13 from ‘tactile mind’ the book.

Just a couple pictures of me (Lisa J. Murphy) pressing pages of  tactile mind at home.  For those who have  a vision impairment or blindness, or anyone who is simply curious; I will give you a quick description. In the two pictures, I am putting the master copy Braille page of  Diagram 13/ Bullet Belt onto the thermoform machine. I am laying the page within the confines of the machine;  the base and frame of  the thermoform machine  is layered in tape to get the best suction.  Soon I lay a piece of thermoform plastic on top, press the edges down with the frame, pull the heat source over the diagram and the plastic, the vacuum suction goes – and voila!  A  3-D thermoform diagram page.

Sounds really easy. In reality many things can go wrong. The diagram, for starters can break –  but that is the worst case scenario. Lately, I’ve had a couple problems in my master pages with a knee cap dislodging , a couple nipples coming loose, a background shredding, hearts moving, and a vagina crumbling. Nothing major, very fixable – just general wear and tear on the images.

Also, my trusty thermoform machine can be a little tempermental. I just give her lots of time to heat up, and some break periods throughout days when I’m printing.

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Why was grade-one Braille used for ‘tactile mind’? What does it say?

Lisa worked with professional Braillist(s) who used grade-one Braille, so (she felt) the work could be easily understood by a wider audience. This  Braille is written letter by letter, so even a sighted person could download the Braille alphabet off the computer and stumble through the descriptions of the photographs.  The Braille accompanying ‘tactile mind’ is in (American) English, which is the standard for North America.

The Braille describes the photograph – how it is cropped, the mask, if the subject is turned to the side, etc. Generally when a blind reader  ‘sees’ a tactile diagram of a person, the diagram is head to feet, facing forward.  The Braille description given in ‘tactile mind’ helps guide the reader through the photographs for a better understanding.

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How and when did the idea for ‘tactile mind’ happen?

5 years ago, Lisa J. Murphy was making tactile diagrams for vision impaired & blind childrens’ educational books, and thought “why not?”. Lisa had received a certificate in Tactile Graphics from the Institute for the Blind, and decided to use her new  knowledge with her own photographs of artistic nudes. Lisa wanted to challenge herself, and she began to create tactile pictures for adults. Over the next 2 years, her idea turned into a book consisting of 17 3-D pictures, with grade-one Braille accompaniment.

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