My MA research is focused on disability awareness, embracing each individual personality and difference in physical and mental needs. Through creative collaboration between myself and the people I support at The Grange, this work celebrates us all working together, from physical hands on interaction, to discussions about representation and final decision making.
I realised I could create artwork that would allow otherwise healthy individuals to partially experience the restrictions and limitations of the people I support. With their help, the idea developed further into creating interactive wearable pieces that reflected their unique and diverse needs, to represent what it is like to have a certain physical or mental trait.
At it’s current stage of development, the work titled as “Supported Fitting’s” is a series of hand knitted garments that can be worn to limit movement, to enhance the senses and overall provide the audience a representation of a differently abled adult that I have supported.
Each garment is hand knitted in a range of different materials chosen by the people I support, all with different interests ranging from colour, texture to aesthetic. The materials range from yarn to shoelaces and even fishing wire, all demonstrating their different sensorial preferences.
The outcomes produced once knitted all had their own individual qualities; some with mis-shaped body parts, some with unlikely knit patterns and colour palettes, and almost all contained unpredictable changes. And yet all were still functional as wearable clothing.
The question that this raises for me, and which I am still eagerly researching – does form then equal function? Could we say that if different forms are still functional, then could somebody with a disability be as equally ‘functional’ as somebody without?
My hope is that my work will raise the profile of such people to allow the world to see them the way they are – remarkable people who often bear the unbearable without complaint.
I work part-time as an art tutor for The Grange charity at Bookham which supports adults with disabilities. I am also undertaking a Masters Degree in Textiles at University of Creative Arts (UCA) in Farnham.