When I met with Dr. Dhand regarding his research and my use of it in an art installation. I was faced with this amazing wall of data.which you can see behind me in the photo. As an artist, I loved all the lines. Were those post-it notes really illustrating specific data about the health of patients?! The drawings were later formalized into the computerized renderings which have a lovely graphic quality to them. The position of the patient is in the center in the drawings which makes more sense to me as the patient is embedded in the center of his or her social network while in the computerized rendering the patient is located at the top position.
In both, the lines resembled threads to me which seemed a fitting metaphor. Thread appears as the symbol of life in Greek Mythology. There are the Three Fates or Moirai, sister deities who spun the fate and destiny of humans. One spun the thread while another determined the length of ones's life and the third inevitably cut the thread. My immediate reaction to making art about this research was to create a series of machine stitched webs, such as the example below.
I wanted something inherently fragile as in my experience the social networks of one's family and friends are just that, fragile. Think of all the tension that flies around the dining table on Thanksgiving! While metaphorically, I thought I was on the right path. The process of making was very limiting. Each panel would need to be machine embroidered using a sewing machine and Solvy. After a year of being cooped up in my house recovering from my stroke. I couldn't stand the thought of being tied to one location. Besides I had learned through The Red Thread Project® that the best way to start a conversation about your art is to be making it in front of your audience which meant knitting or crocheting. I chose crochet for all the reasons mentioned in my artist statement. And began experimenting. I started setting up my portable crochet studio at various cafes around St. Louis. One time while on the Amtrak to Chicago, a medical student sat next to me and asked what I was doing. I told her and soon she got about a dozen classmates also on the train to crochet along with her. ( Yes, I always carry extra hooks and yarn with me just in case.) This process of sharing information is exactly what I wanted. Part art installation, part perfromance art and part community art, the idea is to educate and share information which I do through the final installation and the use of this blog, but with one person at a time at my local coffee shop.