Well, what can I say?!
Thank you so much for the great response to my first blog post, I was not expecting that at all! I am still overwhelmed, but it has spurred me on to make my work even bigger and better, so thank you!
This week I thought I should go back to my Degree Show work and tell you a little bit about that.
After having to take a year out of Uni, thanks to MS, I was struggling to get back into the creative side of things. So much had changed in that year, I actually remember I had started to doubt myself and my creative abilities. Plus as it was my final year, I had free reign to design and make what ever I wanted, which sounded great but was actually quite daunting. I knew I wanted to do something that had meaning or meant something to me, but was also fashion based, a couple of ideas were tried out but were not quite working.
While looking up future fashion trends for 2011, one trend really stood out to me, which was based on Science and Technology, it was the neutral colours that really appealed to me, greys, dark blues and black. This got me thinking about using a medical theme. At that time there was a lot of press about stem cell research, which interested me greatly but I also found the images of them extremely inspiring, I loved the linear qualities they had and also the muted colours that were produced.
It was then I realised I had my very own medical images to work from, my MRI scans!
My first idea was to simply draw from them, to create intricate pieces of jewellery. That was fun, but I felt there wasn’t enough meaning or thought behind it. So, I carried on playing with ideas to see what I could come up with. I thought back to when I was first diagnosed, I did’t really have a clue what MS was or what it was all about, which made me realise I wanted to make pieces based on my experiences with MS to hopefully help people understand it a little bit more.
As my work was fashion led and needed to be noticed, I decided to make a collection of oversized, ostentatious pieces for the catwalk. This excited me so much, as it opened up what materials I could use, it didn’t just have to be the usual precious metals found in jewellery. I wanted to try and find something that represented an aspect of MS. After thinking about MS and the relationship I have with it, I decided to have a Natural VS Toxic theme shown by the materials chosen. As MS is a natural condition I chose to use Corrugated Cardboard and because the medication I use to reduce the effects of MS is so toxic, I used Acrylic sheet. These materials both worked well together and great effects were produced through laser cutting and etching.
This laser cut, acrylic piece represents my first relapse I ever had, which was Optic Neuritis. It was quite a scary experience as my eyesight went from great, to slightly painful to look around and fuzzy, to pretty much complete darkness in that one eye. I remember being so upset and thinking that my life as a jeweller was already over. I may have overreacted a little bit, but I didn’t have a clue what was going on!
As if being pretty much blind in one eye wasn’t enough, my balance was completely off as-well. I thought I was covering it up so well, trying to walk straight was so hard but I thought I had nailed it, until my GP asked me to walk in a straight line….I failed miserably! But thankfully this is what brought it to everyones attention that there was more to it than just optic neuritis. I created a large shoulder piece to show how MS was pulling and pushing me down.
After that visit to the GP and many more visits to the optometrist and other doctors, I was admitted to hospital, not that I can really remember as I was away with it, couldn’t even recognise my best friends (sorry guys!!). It turns out it was all down to the lining of my brain being inflamed that made me extremely disorientated, which I am actually thankful for as apparently I had a Lumbar Puncture, which I hear are pretty painful…PHEW! Anyway to represent this i made a delicate head piece using the outline of enlarged MRI scans.
Here are some other pieces from the collection….
These brilliant photos where taken at Ninewells Hospital by the great Photographer Ross Fraser Mclean (@RoFraserMcLean) and stared the beautiful Holly Scanlan. It still amazes me how much depth they have even though they were shot in this bright artificially lit box!
While writing this I was asked by a friend if it was hard to look back over what had happened, my response, no. It reminds me how bad things had been at first, but that I got through it and that if I can do that, other people that are going through similar definitely can do the same. Plus if it wasn’t for MS, god knows what I would be designing!