Part 4- Continuing Creative Development for the Exhibition
Assignment 4 Review- Completion of Project Work
Screen Printing and Hand Stitching Processes
Gillian Morris Student No. 511388
Hand stitching has traditionally had many uses throughout the years however hand sewing has been used here to exemplify the capacity for repair through therapy but also through ones own hands, to restore by replacing a part or putting together what is damaged. The material focus has been to use hand sewing to restore to a sound or healthy state, to renew repair to increase strength and robustness, to renew to enable recovery and continuing wear and experiencing. Before the sewing machine, making and repair was done exclusively by hand using natural materials through knowing and understanding the stitches to use given its relevance for the item’s appearance as well as its function and longevity. I have used hand sewing with vintage linen to represent hope, of the capability for change, to increase functioning within human experiencing, to promote an individuals ability to overcome and to continue to grow, to flourish despite adversity.
The textural qualities of the vintage linen exuded strength, resilience, robustness and wear in process which suited and matched the narrative, the story telling of personal journeys from mental despair and desolation to recovery and renewed coping, to highlight the need for acceptance of mental ill-health and the need for formal and informal support to aid mental health. Through this visual retelling an increased focus was on communicating this process of recovery, of triumph over adversity, of managing to quieten the fear, emotional pain and hyperarousal towards the enhanced capacity to self-soothe and self-calm, to be with self without negative rumination and anxious anticipation, to experience more acceptance, acknowledgement and letting go free from judgement and criticism.
This series for mental health recovery- A visual account of emotional repair conceptualised mental recovery through repair using screen printing and hand stitching . Such creative processes forged the way forward for an identified and preferred way of relating and responding to/with dyed and screen printed vintage linen bedsheets in process, to best communicate my emotional responses to and with this sense of mental health recovery and repair through hand sewing. I continued to integrate hand stitching with the full-sized double bedsheets, to the surface of the dyed vintage linen which was not intended to embellish for its own sake for decorative purposes in isolation but rather to illustrate different types of experiencing and different emotional states of distress and repair, from splitting and rupturing to mending, strengthening and recovery, to consolidate and increase resilience through traditional sewing stitches.
With such experiencing drawn from the emotional engagement within therapy processes such a felt sense has been used to create and relate using hand screen printing with hand sewing and stitching processes. Indeed through such research processes concerning sewing and the related sampling processes I was struck by the history and meaning of women’s work and art, of the actual then increasingly inferred connotations of domesticity and women’s work from within the home setting which often included their sewing. Through the years women’s contributions have often been seen through the negative gender stereotyped lens of their domestic role and expectations, which could be seen as inferior, of less value and worth compared to paid employment and bread winner status. That said this often encapsulated women and their work being considerably devalued with an overall under-estimation of their importance especially involving their hand sewing as it was so often small scale, hidden from view, and out of sight. In considering this I have been conscious of the need to be big, brave, bold to be seen to communicate what I need to be felt and heard. Of the need to convey what is so often not spoken about… of the value of women’s work alongside the value of mental health and wellbeing. From such understandings of gender and work, of the continuing disparity involving women and their work, of working more for less there was a need to work in a much larger scale for mental health to have equal regard with physical health as there is no health without mental health. Through broadcasting this narrative through my creative process, of being listened to through the use of very large scale work inequality cannot be so easily ignored and overlooked.
I continued to be materials led in the first instance as previously reflected upon, to be led by the vintage linen, of its strength and capacity to hold the print and to accurately represent what was printed, of the materials capacity to capture and express every nuance and detail of the mark making which informed the creative process. The plan for the creative process continues to be embedded within the materials response, of a toing and froing between myself and the material, of a reciprocal process of relating founded upon a flexible open mindedness to being fully committed to each present moment and how I was led by my response to the materials response after each individual print and stitch. In doing so I left myself open to what presents itself and did not close myself off to a range of options and possibilities. That said like the sampling processes the larger scale printing and stitching processes were extended beyond what was initially considered to fully envelope and embrace the emotional resonance of therapeutic change, of a range of stages, phases and shifts to encompass visually.
Through such extensive screen printing and hand stitching processes I couldn’t help but reflect upon so many individual therapy processes which I have been directly involved in which has informed my creative relationship with the vintage linen. I have been privileged to be part of such journeys, to witness others at their most vulnerable, at their rawest, of their willingness to share and let me see their emotional hurt, pain and fear, to allow me to help them to help themselves. Such psychotherapeutic relating helped to lead the way concerning the visual representation of mental recovery and repair, of communicating such emotion from such therapy processes through screen printing and stitching. Through reflecting in process I felt better placed to be emotionally responsive to conveying and communicating what I wanted to say creatively, to visually transfer such emotion into what I was doing in print and stitch.