This is my first post in my Blog that is going to be all about me, my MS, what I am doing with it to empower myself by being creative and hopefully change the way people see the degenerative disease!
So, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 6 to 7 years ago and when that news came, I was devastated.
I wasn’t quite sure, exactly what it was apart from that it was a chronic, degenerative, life long, incurable condition which obviously made me fear the worst!
Look it up if you don’t know what MS is all about! The MS Society and ShiftMS are both great resources, check them out!
Once I had got my head straight, and realised that fearing the worst wasn’t making anything easier or that it would not stop anything bad that might or might not happen to me, I decided to use my diagnosis in a positive way.
I first used MS in this way when I was in my final year of University at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, while studying Jewellery and Metal Design. Each piece was inspired by what I had experienced since diagnosis and even what I had to deal with day to day.
‘Haunch Injection Site’ Brooch
‘Gait’ Shoulder Piece
This work got a great response, not only from fellow MSers and MS charities but also from the general public as it brought MS to peoples attention. This also made it easy to talk about and people could ask questions without feeling awkward, which at times it can be.
Since this work, I knew I had to continue using MS as my inspiration as I felt there was too much to gain from it, for MS awareness, for fellow MSers, to hopefully inspire them and for me, to help me take control of my MS for a change!
This summer I applied to Vanilla Ink, to be an Inker in 2014. Vanilla Ink is an amazing incubator for jewellery designers to hone their craft and set up their own business, with great one on one mentorship and business advice in a warm collaborative environment.
To hopefully make it as an Inker’14, I played with ideas on how to move my work forward and I decided to take an in-depth look at the outcomes of MS. This led me to looking closely at the visible lesions on my MRI scans, the scaring left on the brain and central nervous system as a result of MS. I decided I wanted to make these ugly scars into something beautiful and unrecognisable.
While playing with these interesting shapes, I noticed an occurring theme that reminded me of victorian decor, which I love. So with this in mind I began to have a play designing my own prints using the damaging lesion as the main focus.
1st attempt at a print (work in progress)
I was getting quite excited at where I could take my work, using my new approach, I was seeing sofas, cushions, walls, just covered in my brain!! I was also thinking I could use sections of the designs to develop quite theatrical pieces of jewellery, which did excite me, but something was missing.
Anyway, I finally heard back from Vanilla Ink and if you don’t already know…I got in in! I was so excited to be part of this amazing creative bunch, with a great collaborative space and awesome business mentorship to boot! It is definitely going to be an exciting and testing year, but I am sure it will all be worth it.
Inkers’14, that’s me on the end –>
So far Vanilla Ink has been a great experience, it feels so good to be back in an inspirational environment with fellow creatives.
I have learned so much already, from our professional development days about the business side of things but what I have valued most about being part of Vanilla Ink is being encouraged to take my work even further than just making jewellery! As my work has such an intense story behind it, it needs to have impact and make a bold statement. That is what was missing, I knew I needed to take my work bigger and bolder, but just wasn’t sure if it would work, but now I know I just need to go for it!
I am currently in the process of thinking BIG, thinking about crazy ways of how to best show my work that will get MS out there for everyone to see and I couldn’t be more excited, so stay tuned to see what I come up with!