I’m often asked about tackling challenging subject matters in my work, something I first tackled in 2016 with Going Sane: An Archive. I thought it would be great to share some of my work and inspiration that explores mental health and wellbeing, a subject that is personal to me.
This collection of work explored the reality of living with depression and anxiety through a series of embroideries, soft sculptures and text pieces. I wanted to share how I had felt at certain times in my life, talking about the loss of my Grandma in 2015 and my struggles with physical health.
I started thinking about this as a blog topic last weekend when I visited Body & Mind: Seen & Unseen at The National Centre for Craft & Design.
Body & Mind: Seen & Unseen brings together a group of thought-provoking and engaging works, across a range of media, which all, in different ways, look at what it means to be well.
The exhibition considers both visible health and those less visible aspects of well-being, through works exploring personal experience of health issues and pieces that examine our relationship to our bodies and the treatment of illness.https://nccd.org.uk/exhibitions/body-mind
The exhibition featured work by Laura Youngson-Coll, Karina Thompson and Anna Dumitriu (pictured above). It was great to see hand and digital embroidery alongside jewellery and sculpture. The show was well curated and introduced me to some artists and processes I haven’t seem before.
In 2018, I began to explore my own struggles with emotional overeating and binge eating disorder in the collection Girls Who Eat Their Feelings. The work was exhibited in Leeds Central Library as part of the Love Arts Festival.
The inspiration for this collection was a list I compiled in 2017 of everything I ate and drank and my physical and mental health. AS I began to analyse the data, I saw trends in the days I was feeling low and the food I was eating. The exhibition showed a series of hand stitched graphs and 3D pieces in response to the data I collected.
I’m always overwhelmed by the responses to my work and exhibitions, sharing my experiences has helped people to realise that they’re not alone. Something that I’m passionate about as an artist who suffers from mental ill health. Growing up in a small village, I always felt alone and that nobody else felt the way I did. As an adult I’m not afraid to share my experiences with people to help them understand more about their own mental health.