Death by Chocolate explores complex issues relating to eating disorders. On the surface the artwork may appear to be an innocent replication of a chocolate box but on closer inspection the viewer will find that things are not as they seem. Research has suggested that chocolate is one of the high risk triggers of binge-eating, causing feelings of guilt, and creating a hyper-awareness of one’s body after ingestion. 

Caren Garfen, who brings wit and precision to all her work, has created a new series focusing on eating disorders. Garfen takes a serious subject and creates complex hand-stitched artworks that demonstrate both a humourous facility with word play and a meticulous stitching ability. Professor Melanie Miller, Selvedge magazine, Nov  2016

Death by Chocolate appears to be a box of enticing goodies; on closer examination it becomes apparent that the contents are not edible, but are cast resin, embedded with words taken from data gathered from sufferers of anorexia nervosa and bulimia. The minute lettering reflects the micrographia that affects some sufferers of eating disorders. (Credit as above).

Photo credit: Yeshen Venema

Photo credit: Yeshen Venema

Measurement: 25cm x 19cm x 3cm

Process: Hand stitch

Materials: Textile, silk threads, resin, chocolate box, paper-cups

Exhibited in:

Wit of the Stitch, Ruthin Craft Centre, Denbighshire, North Wales (2016)

Transgressing Traditions, Schweinfurth Art Centre, New York, USA (2016)

13th International London Eating Disorder Conference, University College London (2017)

BEAT Eating Disorders International Conference, Imperial College London (2018)

‘What’s Going On Upstairs’, The Knitting & Stitching Show, Alexandra Palace, Gallery TG11, London (2018)

‘What’s Going On Upstairs’, The Knitting & Stitching Show, The RDS, Gallery TG6, Simmonscourt, Dublin, (2018)

‘What’s Going On Upstairs’, The Knitting & Stitching Show, Harrogate Convention Centre, Gallery TG2, Harrogate (2018)

East Midlands Mental Health Service Innovators Conference 2019, First Steps, University of Derby (September 2019)