Handle with Care is a textile piece about my experience of caring for my terminally ill mother in 1979, the summer I turned 16. I had never thought of myself as a ‘carer’ until earlier this year when I was involved as an Arts & Health Practitioner in a community arts project in Devon called The Craft of Caring. The main project was engaging with carers in a series of workshops to make a piece of community artwork.
There was a call for art submissions from people about their experience of being a carer. After hemming and hawing for a few weeks, I decided to make this piece. Although I have done a lot of work on this loss over the years, I have carried vivid visual memories around with me for the past 40 years. This piece of artwork gave me the opportunity to process my experience in a different way than I have done so in therapy.
“This self-portrait uses photographic and stitched images,
layers of memory and text to capture the artist’s experience
of being an adolescent carer; an experience of a world unravelling
contrasted with the strength of will to hold herself together.”