Where did you get the idea?
The concept originated during research work with children and young adults with a range of additional needs. Many of these young people felt the desire to express themselves through movement and music, but lacked the means to do so. It was clear that there was a need for interactive sensory objects that were less like clinical equipment and more natural and gentle.
How long have you been doing this?
It became obvious right from the early prototypes 10 years ago that these wooden sound-making objects had far-reaching interest. Positive responses came from parents and carers of autistic children and children recovering from trauma and injury; nurseries and forest schools; occupational therapists working with dementia and Alzheimer’s; medical and psychotherapist practitioners; yoga instructors and music therapists… the list grew and still continues to.
Who buys Timberharps?
Our customers broadly fit three categories: medical and educational professionals seeking therapeutic tools to compliment their practical toolboxes; wellness and health practitioners using timberharps to compliment restorative environments; and individual customers who see, feel and hear the pieces and appreciate them as beneficial or simply as a piece of natural art with a twist.
Can they go outdoors?
We’re working on a series of outdoor versions and some of our larger installations are built for outside use, but currently there are too many sensitive electronic components inside our Timberharps to survive outdoors. We recommend indoor installation only please!
What's so therapeutic?
Many of the children we encountered whilst developing timberharps are reliant on medical equipment 24hrs a day. We discovered that sensory rooms, whilst necessarily practical, were somewhat of an extension to this equipment. We wanted to bring something natural and non-synthetic into this environment; a small slice of nature that anybody could benefit from, regardless of their physical, mental or emotional condition whilst ensuring that any music that is generated sounds gentle, relaxing and harmonious.
What sounds do they make?
Every Timberharp currently has 12 different instrument modes, ranging from gentle bells, watery droplets, to harps and soft strings. The notes are presented in a major pentatonic scale, meaning that all the notes harmonise together and it’s impossible to make them clash. So everyone is an immediate expert, right from the start, with no practice or mastery required.
How do they work?
Magic and Witchcraft! Anyone who's asked me in person will have probably heard this droll answer but it's actually not too far from the truth. You’d never know it from looking at them, but the latest editions use a super-fast quad-core processor for instantaneous touch response (magic) and a custom sensor board by Reactive Arts Ltd. for dynamic programming and a highly robust build (witchcraft).
What inspires you?
To put it simply, people. Our customers vary so greatly that we often meet someone who’s needs we haven’t encountered before. This can lead to a major overhaul of our perspective and regularly furnishes us with new design ideas.