THE SECRET LIFE OF AN EATING DISORDER, 2018
“Caren’s artwork invites you to a raw and harrowing viewpoint of eating disorders in a way that isn’t so confrontational, clichéd, triggering or horror movie-esque. It invites you to decipher your own feelings about the subject.” Eating disorder patient in recovery
Continuing the theme of eating disorders, work was created for an art installation at The Knitting & Stitching Shows. One of the main features of this artwork was a one-twelfth scale dolls house in which the bedroom was furnished with a miniature version of a hospital bed, along with a tiny drip stand, weighing scales, stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. In the gallery, a life-size bedroom/hospital room was created as a close replica of the miniature dolls house bedroom and was furnished with a full-size hospital type bed; actual medical equipment was adapted by using textiles and hand stitch to create individual artworks. The dolls house sat inside the installation as an indication of scale; inside the dolls house was a miniature house (1-48th scale), and within that is a really tiny house barely a millimetre high.
This meticulously crafted doll 'Mia' was a commission, and created by Julie Campbell who designed and made the wonderful dolls for the television adaptation of The Miniaturist which was screened on BBC1 in late December 2017
The art room was dedicated to Alex, a talented art student who passed away after suffering from a complex eating disorder. On the easel stands a one-twelfth scale version of a self-portrait that she painted in oils. The framed pictures and the miniature portfolio have copies of her artworks in them. The wallpaper in this room has particular significance as the design was copied from a hospital bed-sheet which Alex had sewn with red thread. Each satin-stitched red mark represented a period that she had missed…I called it ‘Menstrual Wallpaper’.
The kitchen is filled with cookery books. The person with an eating disorder has a keen interest in the baking of cakes and scones and will happily share the results of her labour but will not eat them herself.
Clean Eating Room (detail). A miniature diet book sits on the table. Fruits and vegetables are being scrubbed with cleaning products in a place where diets are taken to an extreme level, in a world where food is either ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’.
Measurement: 81cm x 63cm x 34cm
Process: Hand stitch, printing
Materials: Textile, silk threads, paper, dolls house, miniature accessories
Currently exhibited in:
‘Nothing Less! 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage’, Austrian Cultural Forum, London (10 Oct 2019 - 31 Jan 2020)
‘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)