Archives for posts with tag: depression

I WANTED SNAP OUT OF IT TO DO TOO MANY THINGS, I had to make some sacrifices to keep my sanity. My top priority was to have this as a transformative piece. It is a piece about the transitions and healing experienced with depression. The piece had to consciously reflect fragility and change through the crisp nature of the porcelain. It needed to be something to be broken down several times, so a large neck piece felt like an obvious route. Each time a piece is broken off, the piece can be restrung as a new piece.

Finding Form

Foamcore Prototypes

Making the Mold

Making the Form

Making the Form 2

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Bisqued Pieces

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WORKING TO THE FINAL PROTOTYPE OF CHIN UP, BUTTERCUP, there were many changes and challenges I faced. The consensus from the first semester was to exaggerate the “chin up” much more. I had played around with making the knit higher to cover the face and longer to become more layered (but this was too similar to the aesthetic of Pull Yourself Together).

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Eventually I came around to making the “neck brace” element as a separate piece from the scarf as means of  pushing the notion of disguise. The user would then be able to wear each piece separately or together. The brace portion is made from vegetable tan leather, molded to fit comfortably under the chin. It snaps together at the back; the tighter the snap, the more restrictive the head movement and higher the chin. I also decided to reduce the gauge of the knit to look more commonplace, but with metal toggles that reference something more medical.

Foam Prototype

Molding Leather 1st Attempt

Knit Close Up

Snaps

Neck Brace

Completed Snaps

Chin Up, Together

Inspiration: Comical Depression Pt. 3

BEATRICE THE BIOLOGIST  • WHEN WE ARE HURTING 

There’s something quite poetic about a biology-based comic addressing the human body and it’s varied means of healing. Our body’s acquire marks of history that can be considered evidence of living and experience. When I was a kid, I fell down a hill where the pavement below grated a crater into my left knee. Besides the pain, I remember well how long it took before I could take the bandages off (which is forever for a 9-year old). Three years later I tripped in the gravel field and the would opened up again. Although I felt like my body betrayed me, I knew I would heal.

The rate of healing is easier to gauge with a broken arm so maybe that is why we become more willing to allow our physical bodies to recover. Maybe the reason why mental health is so difficult to discuss is because we are used to seeing an end after the recovery. For many, this end is nonexistent. How can we openly talk or accept our conditions when the truth is so disturbingly unpredictable and uncertain.

Thank you Beatrice the Biologist (aka Katie McKissick) for reminding me that our expectations need to change about what healing truly means.

Throughout our life, we constantly redefine ‘normal.’ While we yearn for previous definitions of the word, building a new normal is what we must do. The next definition is more important than the last one. Rest assured, you and your body will find the new normal soon.

This was a note written from a man to his wife as she struggled to find confidence with her new life and body after a battle with breast cancer. The beautiful story can be found here.

THERE ARE A LOT OF UPLIFTING, BELIEVE-IN-YOURSELF TYPE ANTHEMS out there. I actually find the popular ones quite cheesy (with the exception of REM’s classic Everybody Hurts), but I listen to them anyway and usually cry. All the heaps of Pink and Christiana Aguilera powerhouse beltings of beauty and perfection, they all muddle and start to feel insincere; not to say the message isn’t important, they present a similar immediacy that can a lot of people can relate to. The cynic is me thinks that pop artists have a quota of song genres to fill and this is one of them. I think it’s very easy to hone into a person’s vulnerability to sell records. Yes, I know that sounds terrible.

That being said, in an attempt to be less than 10 years behind in music, I caught up with the world and listened to some Jessie J. (initially though because that’s my sister’s name and last initial). Her contribution to this conversation is, Who You Are and I was prepared to have a listen and forget it. For whatever reason, I’ve replayed it several times, album and acoustic version. Maybe it’s the music video, the isolation and eventual onslaught of storminess in a single room. Or it could be the raw quality of her voice sans the overblown auto-tune trend. Maybe I am biased because I was watching The Voice UK  and Jessie J. is one of the judges who I have come to respect.

 

I was pleased to see she wrote the song for herself during a time when she was struggling to maintain her sense of identity in the music industry. Her lyrics feel genuine and made quite an impact on my own situation; specifically, mid-chorus she reassures the listener,

It’s okay not to be okay

This is something I want to tell myself, as well as try to represent in my work. Instead feeling like you need to be fixed, learning to accept the darkness as a way to redefine normal. How can we be given permission to be ill?

THE FOLLOWING ARE ANOTHER SERIES OF SCREENS. Similar to the last series, this screen uses emotionally-driven words (this time, emotions directly tied to depression) to prompt different interactions with the given material, as determined by the participant. My participant was given a very long strip of fabric  and again, none of her actions were premeditated. These were the results of this interaction.

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comfort

More Behind the Jump

MY COMMITMENT TO MATERIALS is not concrete, as of yet. However, I have set my parameters- I want to make sure there is a juxtaposition of materials which fully represents the spectrum of emotional tactility. Conflict between materials can translate the contradictory nature of depression, that it can be hard and soft at the same time. I am leaning towards ceramic, fabrics and wools, and possibly wood because their physical qualities can change over time (eg. wood can soften or break).

JESS FINK • KID WITH EXPERIENCE

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this comic, it just fell into my lap at a much needed time (click the picture for full comic). What resonated with me was that the path of recovery isn’t linear. Each trip spent digging is different; some expeditions become cavernous and infinite, while others barely break the surface. Despite the dirt-smeared cheeks and soil-caked fingernails, you eventually come out for air. Maybe you’ll start digging again, but it’s those glimpses of “I can” that truly matter.

I’ve been familiar with Jess Fink’s spectrum of work for quite some time and I always admired her inky styles. She’s a girl who knows how to make fun of herself and I can appreciate that. Her ability to share her personal struggle among the cat jokes and fictional robotic sexscapades (NSFW) is admirable. Even though there are 121 million people internationally who suffer from depression, finding and connecting with successful individuals who have treated their condition is inspiring.

DOODLING UP ANOTHER 101 SKETCHES was hardly as daunting as the first two times. Developmentally speaking, i think my drawings this time around were much better. I had more of a focus for this round: I made a list of bad advice and tried to give it a physical form, taking it into the most literal sense possible. Breaking up approximately 10 sketches per theme made the ideas more fluid and I had less time to dwell. Surprisingly, using a different coloured marker for each theme supplied me with a notion of fresh page as I sketched on a single scroll of paper. The bliss of permanent markers is that the ideas flood out freely without second thought. There is less constraint and more confidence with each stroke. And I do think the drawings became sillier.

I reassure you that this is a very good thing.

THE FRAGMENTED TIME SPENT WITH MY MAJOR DEPRESSION are my “Lost Days”. A wisp. An exhale. It’s as if the darkness inside me escapes only to mask a fog over my eyes and suddenly a day becomes a week. I have lost a lot of things during this whole ordeal. This entire project fell into hiatus once again and coming back to it was challenge; not because I didn’t believe in the cause, but because I couldn’t believe in myself. I was so downtrodden by my past attempts, slips and falls (in every aspect, not just school) that I had finally lost myself.

In Stanford University’s Robert Sapolsky’s lecture about depression, he states that “depression is the worst disease you can get”.  When I had listened to this a year ago, I had my doubts. Having watched it again more recently, I wholeheartedly agree. Depression is destruction; but, In destruction is creation.

Ugly and muddled in memory as these days have been, I strongly believe that it was never time wasted. Each crippling blow becomes a lesson and I am perpetually learning. For those good days, the fleeting moments that could be considered simple accomplishments reminded me that I am more than my “Lost Days”, more than my illness. Though my depression constantly lies to me, I know its face and I know it will get better.

My drive to see this project to completion could not meet a greater immediacy. To feel equally empowered and vulnerable I have embraced to be a beautiful thing. Third time’s a charm. This is my comeback.

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