Mental Health: Perspectives

“A Tangled Mind”

“A Tangled Mind” is a wearable sculpture that depicts the internal emotions that can bubble up to the surface. Over time these emotions can weigh us down.

The piece is held together entirely from macramé knots, which represent the state of the unbalanced mind. Although knots appear restrictive and binding at first glance, “The Tangled Mind” can, in-fact, be untied. This unravelling of knots mirrors ‘recovery’.

The knot is a metaphor for illness; in the sense that we can become released from these bonds and be well again.

The wearable sculpture intends to alter both the physical stance and emotional response of the wearer.

“A Tangled Mind”

Dyed bandages, varying sized balls and beads, cotton yarn. (2018)

Photography: Laura Ruxton

 

“A Tangled Mind”

(Detail)

Dyed bandages, varying sized balls and beads, cotton yarn. (2018)

Photography: Laura Ruxton

 

“No One Loves Me”

“No One Loves Me” is a wearable sculpture. It visualises the invisible emotional barrier we create to shield ourselves from others. Particularly when we are feeling low and in a state of depression. I have designed and constructed a cage that separates the wearer from the outside world.

The cage acts like a screen separating the wearer from the external world. They are able to see the world, but not interact with it. It represents the cocoon we make to shelter ourselves. But with time can become a self-made cell that traps us within and isolates us from others.

This artwork takes inspiration from participants who describe cocoons that conceal them, veils that shield them, and windows that separate them from others:

“I often feel like I am behind a plate glass window, I watch the world, but am not really in it. I sometimes feel as though I look as if I’m in it but I’m not really. Occasionally, I ‘get out’ from behind it and ‘join’ the world, but just for a short time”.

To the chest area of the sculpture the phrase “No one loves you” is machine embroidered. It is sewn repeatedly in an mantra-like chant. The words are that of the internal voice, of the anxious brain. This is taken directly from one of the participant’s drawings.

Grey tonal colours are used to show the wearer’s mood. This colour was one of the most dominant colours mentioned by participants.

Restriction of movement was a common theme from the results. This is reflected in a lace-up and corset-like neckline which literally restricts the wearer.

There are brain-like formations on the head and shoulders. These motifs are constructed from one continuous length of yarn. The yarn is secured down in the formation of the ‘hilbert curve’ which creates a brain-like pattern.

The soft surface contrasts against the harsh cage and restricting lace. This conveys the vulnerable state of mind of the wearer.

Small heavy weights hang from the shoulders. These convey feelings of a pressure weighing down on us when we are low in mood or depressed. This was one of the main feelings described by the research participants.

“No One Loves Me”

Corset boning, wool felt, polyester threads, eyelets, ribbon, yarn, fishing weights. (2018)

Photography: Laura Ruxton

 

“No One Loves Me”

(Detail)

Corset boning, wool felt, polyester threads, eyelets, ribbon, yarn, fishing weights. (2018)

Photography: Laura Ruxton