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.

Foundling (2012)
Material: Crocheted from cotton-thread
Dimensions: 18.5 cm x 27.5 cm


This person is art-starving. Apart from on the computer-screen I haven’t seen any art since my delirious visit of the Louise Bourgeois-exhibition at the Freud Museum in May. Driving back from an interesting if challenging hospital appointment the other day we passed Peckham Space and just for a moment I caught a glimpse of Julia Vogl’s HOME. So near and yet so far: if only we could have gotten out and had a look and a listen, but fatigue was ready to tether me to the nearest horizontal plane like Gulliver was by the little people. Such bottomless tiredness makes you aware of the many incremental and indiviually taxing components that make up the simplest activities. As it turned out, when we arrived home, I had to be heaved out of the car – my limbs had stopped functioning (this doesn’t happen often, I’m relieved to say, it’s been alousy week). You see – no amount of wishing helps, no amount of art-hunger. Down I lay.

I’m glad I was able to listen to some of Julia’s interviews on Resonance FM over the last few weeks. Real voices! Also found the podcast of a conversation with the artist Gayle Chong Kwan at Peckham Space. So interesting, food for art-thought, although then of course I wished nothing more than being able to see, experience her work. Still, definitely a step up from reading about it.

I like to think that my art-machine never stops. Well, it does, actually, factually, when my arms aren’t up to it, or when I eat or sleep or do other nice things, but something always stirs and spawns and spouts in my head, which is populated with changelings and foundlings and other lings that want out.

And just so you don’t think crochet is all I (can) do:

Falling (2004)
Materials: paper and masking tape
Dimensions: 32 cm x 30 cm x 18 cm

PS. If you’d like to find out a bit more about M.E. see here