Living With Chronic Pain Blog
This week we fired a raku kiln and I fired a gas kiln for my blue cell figure. I also started the process of exposing my printmaking screens. I am doing a colorful, multi-layer print of a body scan. This will go with the next figure that I create!
This piece is fully decorated and now going into the kiln! I will be assembling it next weekend or so after it is out of the kiln. The bottom will have yarn connected through the holes and crocheted into cells. I will also be trying to add beads to this work to mimic the dots and round cell patterns I am creating. I thought it would go well together, but I have to see if it looks how I am imagining. I am really excited for this part of the process. I have a lot of fun crocheting and putting the finishing materials on the ceramic piece.
I chose to color the clay figure I made with blue slip and decorated the cells with pink and red. The video below is me creating the pink cells! I am really excited to dry out and fire this piece! Next is getting it in a cone 10 kiln and then assembling the crocheted yarn with it!
This week I assembled the figure's head and shoulders. I hallowed out the eyes, mouth, nose, and ears. All of these hallow areas will connect to my idea of the interior of the body. I will have the cell patter coming out of these areas. I will hallow this piece soon and then assemble the bumpy cell forms fading from the shoulders. After that I will focus on choosing bright colors for the cell pattern on the clay.
This week I started working in clay to begin the ceramic parts of my installations for this semester. I have sketches for what I want the pieces to look like. Each ceramic piece still needs to morph into cells. I will paint them in bright colors using slip. After I get some cells started in the ceramic, I will then create cell-like parts in crocheted yarn.
My work requires a lot of planning, research, and thought before jumping in. Because of my fatigue and limited energy, I rarely just start a piece without thinking through what I want it to look like. This helps me conserve as much energy as possible to create the piece and do more pieces in the long run.
This week I did a lot of research and image collection of the conceptual side of my work as well as the visual imagery that I want to use in this work. I am thinking about color that is found in hospitals, related to science, and the health related events I experienced. I am noticing the connection to computer technology and medical devices like IVs, heart monitors, and acupuncture. I am planning on using clear tubing, possibly electrical wire, and bright colors. I also have been researching the imagery I will want to print on fabric in printmaking. I will be taking an image of tissue from a person who has EDS, which is shown in the last photos. I will take this photo and incorporate the printed fabric pattern into the piece.
The next step in my plan is to decide what I want it to look like and start creating the ceramic piece.
WHAT work you will make this semester?
My focus this semester is to make at least one portfolio piece. I want it to be a life-size medical experience installation. I want to play with including video projection or a small screen playing video within the work, similar to the heart monitor found in hospital rooms. I also want to include lots of wires, cords, and tubes, since patients are covered with those materials when in a hospital. I want to continue playing with printmaking and crocheted yarn in my piece as well. If I have time, I would like to do a second portfolio piece. I am trying not to put too much pressure on myself to make a million things this semester, so I can put the high level of detail and focus that I think this story and piece deserves.
WHY are you making this work?
I am making this piece because I have been wanting to make it for a while. I haven’t made it yet because I didn’t feel ready to include so many new things, but after my recent stay at the hospital and many reference photos I took, I realized how important that experience is in my work. I felt the need to express that side of myself since it dominates a lot of my lived experiences as a young chronically ill person. I also haven’t felt I had the time or patience to create such an elaborate and intricate piece until this year.
HOW MUCH work do you intend to make?
I intend to work on my one hospital installation from start to finish. I also intend to finish one piece from last year that is ready to be assembled. I also won a chronically ill and disabled artist grant from Suffering the Silence called We’re Still Here. I will be making a smaller figurative piece to show and possibly sell for this grant!
What TECHNIQUES will you use?
I will be creating a figure, not so closely focusing on hyper-realism, but more on form, expression and texture. I want to think more about the emotion and feeling it evokes, instead of only wanting it to look realistic. The hospital and doctor’s office experience brings lots of uncomfortable emotions that are far more important to the piece than how believable the figure appears. I will be creating a bumpy, crumbling textured surface, including some cell forms that structurally make up the piece. I will then take this ceramic piece after being fired and focus on the found objects and materials that make up the hospital environment.
What are your GOALS through making this work?
My goal for this work is to express deep, chilling emotions that come from the experience of hospitals which disabled, and chronically ill people experience. My goal is always to preserve these disabled experiences, show our community’s resilience, and show a side that disabled people experience so frequently, that others may have no idea about. I also want a successful portfolio piece that shows the different materials that I can use together.
For my final project this semester, I want to build off of what I created at houseguest and mix a ceramic figure, crocheting, and printmaking. I am wanting to focus on the digestive system, as well as the figure in a doctor's office environment. The tissue above is stomach lining, which will be printed on fabric, and the digestive system will be crocheted and sitting inside the ceramic figure.
The other photo is of smaller in progress projects that are getting me to think about cells, form, and growth.
Intercostal Convulsion, 2021.
This diagram to the left is the muscles that I am focused on which literally attach the ribcage to the pelvis and are prominent in movement and function of the body. Here is an excerpt from a book called The Vital Psoas:
"Located deep within the anterior hip joint and lower spine, the psoas major (usually just referred to as the psoas) is critical for optimal postural alignment, movement, and overall well being. The psoas is the only muscle in the human organism that connects the upper body to the lower body, and its importance extends to the nerve complex and energy systems."