Kathleen Lagan

My work whilst at university has converged around the concept of ‘lines’, and its different physical variations and manifestations. Recently, my practice focused on drawing and abstract portraiture, the process of repetition of drawing tree rings representing years of an individual’s life; metaphorically representing their journey.

Though ironically, life does not follow a linear path. Mine took an unexpected turn and grief has suddenly become everything to me;
inverted, subverted, converted everything.

As artists it is our job to creatively react to the ‘now’ and to do so, I sought out the familiar to find a sliver of control in what is now an impossibly tangled lump of time and emotion; and representing life doesn’t seem appropriate right now.

I returned to my work from second year, where I had explored the benefits and links between craft and disability and found a kind of therapy in the methodology of knitting and weaving. Previously, I had found finger knitting useful in dealing with, and in fact representing, life
with chronic illness. Now, it feels relevant again- isn’t grief really another kind of chronic illness?

To me grief is a heavy, immovable mass that sits on my chest, some days the weight is easier to carry, other days it is near impossible.

It is a knotted mass that, once apparent, must be painstakingly worked through so that a way forward may be found. Delicately, diligently ‘untangled’ with care, as anger makes the knots tighter, more complicated and passivity leads to inertia and the obstacle remains the same. So far, one month of this is over 150 ft of knitted wool, adding to it whenever I feel an ‘extreme’, like overwhelmed, guilty or numb. Most times it has helped me to come back to the ‘present’ and work through the pain, and in this way it has become my Lifeline.

So now my work explores my journey of trying to find stability in creating; of trying to regain some mental and emotional control, via creative automatic processes that engage the conscious and subconscious through instruction and pattern. The tactility of knitting with fingers and hands is key in this engagement; the major senses sight, hearing, touch, are actively stimulated, challenged and preoccupied with structured learning and:

Structure allows for healing and healing is an art.
It takes time.
It takes practice.
It takes love.

So, welcome to my art.