A Thousand Threads

Stewart, Elaine
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University of Hawaii at Manoa -- Center on Disability Studies
‘Thread and fibre have always held me close. Words I may struggle with but any piece of cloth can speak to me. Thread lets me play and explore, it is a material that all people engage with. It is the clothes you wear and the sheets you sleep between. It ties things together. Threads are used in labelling, but words are given precedence. I wrestle with a label that was given me. I read about it, I explore what is said about it in many different ways in our world. It takes over my processes. I fight back, but I I fall into letting it define me again. I am hoping that you will share a label that has been applied to you or a friend. That you will hang a tag on the walls of this box to share that label. I am hoping to use these words in an exploratory activity that will continue. I am beginning to see through this process. A wheelchair is a standard icon for disability. It is usually interpreted as referring to disabilities that are present physically. I started making wheelchairs in my art practice because I do use one. It was a different way to explore the heavily laden subject of my otherness. The longer I have built wheelchairs of varying materials and sizes the more I have come to see my crafted wheelchairs as an exploration of a mind that is labelled 'mentally ill’. Myself, I cannot just push a label aside again.
aging, art
Stewart, E. (2016). The Becoming Subject of Dementia. Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal, 12(2 & 3).
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