May I introduce you to this newest Foundling, probably no. 6 in a series of 7, although it’s the third finished one. The others are still jostling in my head. I’m playing with shapes (not so easy to make perfect curves in crochet) to get to different characters and emotions – this one has a nice line in pathos and pluckiness. Is it strange to feel affection for one’s creations?
Evoking bodies in order to express something about the psyche has become second nature to me. It’s not entirely new – I can see elements of this in my video-work – but something has turned: I did not imagine altered physicalities before, the strangeness was in the perception of the ‘normal’ whereas now the ‘real’ is in the strangeness which doesn’t need to stretch or strain towards an unattainable norm but just is, if you see what I mean.
I think the changes in physical perception since I’ve had M.E. have heightened this sensitivity. The fatigue does peculiar things, as does the pain, which tends to rise exponentially with the level of tiredness. I’m not one who believes that illness is sent to us in order to help us grow, but I take what I can get from it. Certainly my body demands more attention and in turn offers the occasional insight. I know what my limbs look like, but when at my most tired their sensations change: arms like tree-trunks or limp celery stalks; pain and pressure in fingertips as if they were about to shoot off, bullet-like; legs dispersing into a million particles which I might be able to see dancing about like dust motes if I stood in the right light… My whole body sometimes seems to ring with pain (I’d be the bell’s clapper) and the other night my lower arms made themselves known with a vengeance: it felt as if my skin was being pulled away from flesh and bones and I almost wanted to tear it off like a way-too-tight glove, be done with it. Trying to find images can help, makes the pain feel less overpowering.
I’ve been watching the Olympics, athletics mostly, admiring the athlete’s force and grace, and their sense of focus. Think I’ve got some of that myself: at the moment I may only be able to walk to the end of the garden and back, but the ability to focus allows me to pursue my art practice, slowly, steadily, but kind of forcefully too.
Material: Crocheted from cotton-thread
Dimensions: 18.5 cm x 27.5 cm