Touch is the softly spoken sense. The personal imprint. The first of our senses to develop. Whether it’s the soft embrace of a loved one, the crisp feeling of fresh white sheets, the quiet calm of a fragrant bath or the tickle of a tweedy sofa. Touch is our guide and barometer, magnifying our senses and creating unspoken connections to the world around us.
It’s no wonder we often talk about feeling our way through life. Contact teaches us empathy and understanding. It’s how, as children, we learn to navigate our surroundings and develop bonds with our family. It’s the first expression of creativity – a finger painting or carefully moulded clay pot – and our first expression of love – a tentative holding of hands.
It’s this visceral sensation that’s so exciting in design. The velvety textures that cosset, the reassuring tactility of hand-cast ceramics, a smooth ripple of soft cotton sheets, the gentle yield of rush seating. Each material weighing differently on our emotions and our sense of place. Like musical notes, there needs to be a rhythm, a rise and fall, some resistance and give. Soft, slubby knits and bare, smooth timber; tumbled limestone and sheer linen. And with each design, fibre or turn of a lathe, we’re provided with a clue to the hands that formed it. That kinship we crave.
How we experience the world is formed from these tactile connections, bringing us closer to nature and each other. Something to celebrate this autumn in all its crisp, cool, first frosts and crunch of leaves underfoot. Touch – a perceptual experience that expresses more than the eye will ever see.