Thursday, 8 March 2018

Textile Body part four: Noughts and crosses





  My area of observation in surgery has so far been for vascular surgery. I understood that there would be examples of very fine stitch work but had not fully considered how it was that you arrived at the area to be mended. It was the detailed sequence of the route into the body that inspired much of this 'body' that I have made.
  Watching several surgeons working at the same time I was aware that they don't just have to stitch but plan and negotiate physical space, both within the confined area inside the body but outside it too.
Around the patient there are at least three surgeons plus a medical student and the scrub nurse...and sometimes me! The surgeons must both negotiate elbow space around the operation and assist each other with tight manoeuvres, referred to as 'following'. The sequence they must follow into their target area has already been planned and in some cases marked out on the body after studying scans and case discussions.
  The image above shows how I have divided up some of these skills; on the right the woven materials of muscle and fascia and artery with their attendant material challenges to negotiate in order to get at the problem. On the left a game of noughts and crosses in fine organza.


  There is a style of quilting called trapunto which was once very fashionably worked on sheer fabrics.Patterns were hand stitched as double rows of parallel stitches on organza.Through the transparent material you could see cords impossibly threaded through these channels but with no apparent entry or exit holes.The fineness of the material allows for no mistake not least because it can be easily damaged.
  My version has tubular ribbons threaded through the pattern of '0' and 'X' variations, each slightly different to illustrate subtle differences in the challenge of threading them through. The trick is planning and understanding your materials;where to start? what tool to use? how far can the material be pushed and does it have hidden qualities?
 It seemed to me that a thought experiment was just the thing for this layer in my 'body'.






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