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NARR: When you create a tactile diagram, remember two key points: first, it should always be used with a verbal narrative. And second, it should not be an exact reproduction of a work of art. It's more like a map, according to Teresa Kardoulias, Artistic Director Art Beyond Sight.

KARDOULIAS: It's a map basically made to help someone understand a visual image by depicting the various shapes, their relationship to one another, differentiating those shapes, the patterns, textures, different line widths, different line types, dotted lines, broken lines. So it's more of a map to show where the objects are.

It shouldn't be an exact replica. It should be that some parts may be omitted; some parts may be exaggerated, for the person exploring the drawing to make it easier for them to locate shapes and understand what's important and what's not. It's sort of like Michelangelo's David where he exaggerated certain parts because of the viewer's perspective. In order for the viewer to understand it you'd have to do that. So it's the same thing in a tactile diagram.

NARRATOR: Teresa Kardoulias developed the tactile diagrams for ABS's Art History Through Touch and Sound. She takes us through the process of creating a tactile diagram.

First, select a picture. Next trace that picture onto regular tracing paper highlighting the most essential parts. The next step is to photocopy that image onto plain paper. Then, cut out the shapes of the objects that were traced. Next, turn the cut out paper over and tape or paste a pattern. The pattern should show on the front of the paper. When all the patterns are in place, photocopy that image onto swell paper. Take the swell paper copy and run it through a Tactile Image Enhancer. The result: a tactile diagram.

KARDOULIAS: Swell paper is normal paper, a little bit thicker, a heavy stock coated with a plastic, and there are plastic beads. When you photocopy the tactile diagram onto the swell paper, the black lines will attract the most heat when you pass this through a machine called a tactile image enhancer. The black lines will attract the most heat and there cause the beads to pop and burst, and that's what swells.



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