All I Can Do
Images by Kevin O. Mooney
The struggle and fear of failing health has the potential to create beauty. I feel helpless watching my father suffer a variety of health problems and taking countless medications. A growing mistrust of medicine, doctors, and hospitals turns this helplessness into a burden. Sharing this mistrust with him and watching my father suffer this burden builds a sense of fear and anxiety that inspires me to help in any way that I can.
Although I cannot diagnose, prescribe, or operate, I have the ability to create with the tools and materials at my disposal through precious and symbolic objects. The ritual of making gives me a sense of command over issues that, though natural, are essentially beyond my control.
Through tedious, repetitive processes, I create a surrogate for each of my father’s dysfunctional parts. The materials are chosen to reference, in some capacity, the function of the part they represent, as well as for aesthetic reasons that offer the opportunity for ceremonial, repetitive processes. I create objects in a traditional craft mode that reference quilting, embroidery, and beadwork, such as using thread color to mimic natural processes. This mode of working produces precious objects that we make out of care for each other.
By fabricating a group of ritualistic surrogates, I am offering a sense of hope and relief; for my father, for myself, and for those who long to help in situations beyond their control.