Work in progress in situ at SLOE Gallery, Manchester for their show On-Going - photo credit SLOE Gallery
The Thing is not necessarily the final title for a year-long work of endurance embroidery.
The proposal for The Thing, written December 2016:
"1. I spent all this year filling myself with as much information as I could about the machinations of the United States and the United Kingdom, the two places I can't help but thinking of as home. I made it my job to be completely aware of the possible outcomes of events. Which is why I am terrified. People cheering the end of 2016 are not paying attention, because after the decisions of 2016 come the consequences of 2017. My sense of foreboding is so deep, it has moved me to be a "cherish every day" person for the first time in my life. I spent the month leading up to my wedding morose, when someone asked me how my weekend was I've never said anything more effusive than "fine". I used to be gripped with anxiety, but now I feel like my lifetime of being scared has finally paid off. I have trained for over thirty years to be able to face how scary things are actually getting. I am now hyperaware of my surroundings, of my home, of my loved ones, of the moments I spend quietly reading. I genuinely believe we're heading for a catastrophe beyond what my generation or the generation before thought possible. What can I do? I cannot change foreign policy. I cannot stop the effects of ill-advised votes. I can sit with myself and I can wait.
2. I hate to say this, because it's so hack by now, but the last year has made me realise how much the internet has changed the public and political discourse. I received most of my news via the internet but so did the people who voted for Donald Trump, and we believe very different things about what physically happened in the world in the last year. Our "facts" are miles away. Trump repeatedly used his Twitter account to deflect and enrage and overwhelm the press and the voters. Successfully. It wasn't just bad, it was FAST and bad. Fake news! Facebook is awful! What if phones but too much! (http://the-toast.net/2015/01/20/next-black-mirror/)
3. You know the Bayeux Tapestry?
4. Slow things down. Feel every terrifying moment in real time. Meditate it. Document it. Take it off the goddamn internet.
5. What if instead of solely babbling my fear and unease at world events on my Twitter account, hands wringing into the ether 140 characters at a time, I embroider a sketchbook, a journal, a reportage, a scroll which grows every day, a solid document of the days leading up to...whateverthefuckiscoming. If it comes, it's historic. If it doesn't come, everyone is fine and healthy and it's a joke/commentary about political panic. Win win.
6. I travel up to Sheffield an agreed upon number of times during 2017. The finished part of the embroidery is hung on the wall, the unfinished part falling off the wall into my lap, while I sit working on it in the gallery. This may or may not be combined with exhibiting other, related work of mine, like the referendum installation."
Developed with support from Bank Street Arts in Sheffield.