A Leicestershire artist has donated two of her children’s’ book illustrations to disability equality charity Scope’s 2024 calendar.
Di Lorriman’s illustrations are set to feature in the March and October pages of the calendar, which is a showcase for disabled artists. As part of the campaign, their work is also set to feature on a range of gifts, stationery and homeware, along with gifts, jewellery, candles and soaps from disabled makers.
“I am delighted to be in the scope calendar 2024,” said Di, a wheelchair user, and former special needs teacher, who lives in Ashby.
“I’m also glad the ‘In The Picture Campaign’ that I was part of, lives on and will be seen by new audiences. It’s important that people learn about the importance of representation. My artwork is presented in an amusing way and that will hopefully engage people.
“I have a long history as a specialist teacher in Special Educational Needs, working with children from a wide spectrum of disability; facilitating inclusion is a passion that has never left me.
“My illustrations are full of humour and yet accurately reflect the situation. I think that, as part of this calendar, they will help to provide a legacy for the future and be a reminder of the importance of Inclusion for all.”
With representation and inclusion at the heart of all her work, Di’s illustration for March reflects some special school playgrounds she’s visited which are stimulating bright places, where all children -disabled and non-disabled, can play together. The setting encourages ‘interactive development, well being, pleasure and the full benefit of play.’
Her picture shows equipment that is purpose built, multi-sensory, tactile, confidence building; all on a colourful safe surface preventing serious injury.
Invisible disability is the theme for Di’s second illustration which appears in October. Set in a classroom many people will look at and think is just a send up of a chaotic school day. In fact, it shows children with a range of disability doing their best to complete a task at their own level.
Most viewers will miss the drawn evidence of individual help and expertise that is available to meet these children’s needs.
Di has organised painting groups and enjoys bringing people of all abilities together and boosting their confidence, sharing her skills in watercolour and seeing their success in learning.
“I love people watching, seeing how they interact with each other and their surroundings,” she revealed. “I carry these mental images forward to bring life to my work. Observing day to day happenings, I see the funny side of life, and record those moments as cartoons.
“I had a complicated accident recently and had to put my future plans on hold for quite a time. I was reliant on a wheelchair and walking frame whilst I worked towards regaining my mobility. This difficult period has given me fresh insight into the need to improve accessibility whilst treating everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve. It has been a humbling experience.
“I’ve also worked on art projects in Ashby. During lockdown, I enjoyed drawing the town and its people and I noticed how the community came together. I also noticed the ways we all helped those less able; I recorded some of this in my pen work.
“After the lockdown, I began to think it would be beneficial to the town to collect my images into a pictorial book. I thought about other artwork I’d created and how it could fit in.
“I have completed a series of 26 inclusive A2 posters for Ashby Museum. They tell the story of Ashby from Stone-age to present day and all contain signs and symbols to aid communication. Not forgetting my inclusive Scope illustrations, some for the Wetherspoon chain and other businesses. I am hoping to press on with a book and aim to have it ready by Christmas.”
The calendar is £4.99 from Scope’s online shop: https://shop.scope.org.uk/collections/2023-calendars-and-diaries/products/scopes-2024-calendar