And this week’s colour experiment…….isn’t.
I put forward a very skimpy proposal for a textile based installation in a local venue – and they went and accepted it. So this week has been monster sewing, dying, unpicking. Did I say they allowed 1 week’s notice? And 2 days to get it up?
Is there a cake and coffee big enough to help with this?
The idea was in response to spending a chunk of the Summer at my father’s bedside in hospital.
We were sat by a deeply unconscious man, talking to him. And he is also deaf, but we were talking to him. We were not sure if he even recognised us for a long while, he was unconscious, he was deaf, he would retain no memory of this time, but we spoke to him.
For me the words were like touch, a means of contact. Their sense was unimportant, we were making a link between us. I wanted to fold the words around him, to tuck them into his bedclothes, hide them in his pockets. There were words just to say ‘we are here with you’, words to soothe when he was in pain or agitated, words to stimulate memory or to engage in his outside life. Most were quiet, small, and everyday; we are not a family for melodrama. They became worn through repetition but this made them softer, more familiar, warmer.
He is home now, well on the way to recovery, and these words are fading away into the mass of words that pass us by each day. Yet for a time these were our way of reaching out, our defence, our protection and our way of trying to hold together.
For the installation the idea was to write the words on strips of fabric and then to do as I had wished before, to tie them, tuck them and wrap them around his night clothes. Some are small, quiet and private, others more public, bolder, bigger and more open, so the scale and style will reflect this, some will be blank so that others can add into it. No grand idea, not even new and shiny, but it is something I have wanted to do….
My ideal would be to have the words and lose the mannequin but I haven’t worked out how to do that yet. I had toyed with the notion of borrowing a hospital bed but the logistics of moving one were fairly extreme at such short notice.
Never Mind. It will be what it can be, I won’t know until I am in the space.
The next few days may well be far too interesting. I have frozen ready meals in stock, phone number of the local take-away, reels of thread, lengths of fabric, loads of pins, staples and a lot of fishing line……hope it is enough.
The word that always worked as our father came back to us, that always got responses and smiles was the most simple – Hello.