Candy James, who runs it with her husband Clive, has a long career as a speech and language therapist and is a specialist in helping people with dementia to communicate and to eat and drink safely. I didn't even know that swallowing becomes a real and dangerous problem as dementia progresses.
Candy has also been examining the latest research on foods which seem to provide the best chance to maintain a healthy brain as long as possible. And this is where I came in. She had a list of 32 foods she wanted people to know about, everything from cinnamon to oats to garlic to 100% cocoa powder; for me, there were some surprises in amongst the typical healthy choices.
The idea was to show the foods, in addition to naming them, creating a visual reminder that people could download as a pdf and keep on a kitchen wall. So I wanted them to look reasonably accurate but in a gentle subtle way, not like brightly-coloured diagrams which would become tiresome to see everyday.
I decided right away the most straightforward thing was just to put them on shelves, and once I'd divided the list into groupings like herbs + spices + drinks, and nuts + seeds + oils, it was then a matter of making the relative sizes appear more or less correct but with the smaller items still easy to see. Also, I wanted an aesthetically-pleasing arrangement on the shelves, and some different packaging to avoid having rows of boring jars.
A few drafts went back and forth as it took shape, and I was very pleased when Candy was so happy with the final result. This was a very satisfying project to be involved in, aside from the fact that I quite enjoy drawing food. I hope it will actually contribute to people's wellbeing.
Do have a look at the Dementia Voice website, and download a copy!