In between This and That

In between those two weeks of waiting for feedback I was still on my merry way of making.

In the brief feedback given by the tutors immediately after the presentation, they mentioned to me about my stitch work that I should consider moving away from that, as it isn’t really communicating in the way that I seem to want my work too, and they referred to it as a ‘warm up’. After giving it some thought I began to understand where they were coming from, and that it was almost like a test for me to be able to get a feel of the colours and materials I should really be working with. Martyn also mentioned that my work is a little too ‘medical’ and that I should bring it back to the human in order to provoke those emotions I am looking to bring out in people.

Something that I hadn’t actually done yet and that I was keen to do was some more research into the subject matters I am dealing with. I felt rather ignorant deciding to focus all of my work on these tricky subject matters without having a good and broad enough knowledge of what I was actually talking about. So I decided to get to grips a little more with the ins and outs of cancer. This included researching into how it is formed, what are the causes of cancer and most importantly how it affects the body inside. ‘Cancer’ is given to a group of related diseases and they can start almost anywhere in the body. When normal cells become old, damaged or abnormal and they survive when they are supposed to die, new cells form. These cells can then begin to divide and separate without stopping and then growths begin to form which are called tumours. Many kinds of cancers begin to form solid tumours which are masses of tissue. However on the other hand, cancers of the blood, for example leukaemia, don’t usually form solid tumours.  Cancer cells are able to ignore the signals from the brain which tell the cells to stop dividing. Cancer is a genetic disease that is caused by changes due to the genes that control the ways in which our cells function, especially how they grow and divide. Genetic changes that cause cancer can be inherited from our parents, they can also arise during a person’s lifetime as a result of errors that occur as cells divide or become damaged DNA caused by certain environmental exposures. These exposures include substances such as the chemicals in tobacco smoke, radiation such as ultraviolet light from the sun and over use of tanning machines.

There’s a lot more that goes into the making of a cancerous tumour, and if you would like to see what else I’ve written about this in more  detail then I have a few pages of research in my sketchbook for you to look over. Now I have done some research into what I am dealing with, I now how to decide how I am going to use it. What do I want to do with it? Where do I see myself taking this information and making it into something else? What do I want my tone of voice to be? One thing I have to remember and bare in mind from my feedback tutorials is that I need to ‘humanize’ my work, bring it back to the person and try not to create so many analytical anatomical illustrations, as these aren’t emotionally stimulating and I wont be able to provoke the reaction from my audience that I have been hoping to get so far. After some more thinking and researching, I  began to get a closer look at what it is exactly that I’m working with here, I began to look at images of these cancer cells under the microscope. By doing this I began to focus on the shapes, textures and patterns that come with these cells, these microscopic shapes and patterns that, without actually knowing what it could be, are rather intriguing. Something that I have been thinking about doing recently is talking to Chris Glynn and seeing if there is a way of getting me into the hospital and actually having the opportunity to look under and look closer at these cells under the microscope. This is currently in the making. Here are some of the cells and pages from my sketchbook that help visualise what I have been working on:

INSERT drawings

I then began to explore a little further away from focussing on Cancer cells, and see what other deadly diseases looked pretty funky under the microscope. I researched into the top 10 deadliest diseases that can affect humans. These included :

  • Coronary Heart disease
  • A Stroke
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Lower Respiratory Infections
  • Trachea, Bronchitis and lung cancers
  • Diarrhoeal Diseases
  • Diabetes Mellifluous
  • Pre-term birth complications
  • Tuberculosis (TB)

All of these different diseases have different appearances under the microscope, all equally beautiful. It was a great way to begin to understand how these kind of things actually grow within the body, attach themselves to us and actually begin to focus on the shapes of the frighteningly dangerous diseases that we never actually get to see.

After spending some more time looking at the shapes and realising that I was liking what I was seeing, I decided it was time to bring back into my work the colours, the materials and the context.Throughout my tutorials and presentations, I spoke rather highly of wanting to incorporate knitting into my work, so that will be my next steps.


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