It begins light and flimsy – a small, broken piece of nylon fishing net – but becomes dense and weighty. With each stitch and mark, with each piece of cloth that I wrap around it I feel myself grow calmer. I stay with the work; I anchor myself to it and by doing so I resist the impulse to run. A cloud shape begins to suggest itself, perhaps only I can see it. My son likens the emerging form to a butterfly. But really the work is only itself. I think it is becoming strong enough to take all my feelings. Bits of it are flawed, frayed, damaged, dirty. I keep going, gently binding it up as one would a bandage and stitching, stitching, stitching. Catharsis comes through repetition until the moment arrives when it can hold itself together.
And then, after the trial, I return to it again. I am a new person – stronger, more determined –there is more work to do. It is not finished yet.
Before and After explores my belief that it is possible to recover from a traumatic experience such as, in my case domestic abuse, but that it is a non-linear process that takes a significant amount of time. The work considers the gradual nature of recovery through layering, mark making and stitch.