Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Premature Pain

The above title is just a working title on the series I'm starting to create. I've been thinking a long time about the pain that tiny premature infants suffer when the are in the NICU. I was a neonatal nurse in my previous life and often took care of infants who had breathing tubes (respirator) attached, and were unable to cry out in pain. As a nurse, I had to look for other signs of pain, including grimacing, pulling away,tightened up limbs, etc., and try to relieve their suffering thru positioning, wrapping, lowering of lights, and of course pain medication. When I started out in nursing, the common belief was that the more premature infants didn't really feel pain, as their pain receptors were not fully developed. We now know that's wrong, and I look back on those years wondering how we could have been so niave.
I went to the Benn Morgan class at Crow Barn with this idea in mind of showing pain, and trying to show pain relief, fleeting as it was. I did not come up with much while I was there, but I took home the tools to work on this. The piece below is the start of my attemps. The fabric is all deconstructed screenprinting with some thermofax images added in. I like the piece, but I'm not there yet in saying what I want to say. This piece is to organized, and pain is very unorganized. I think I'm off to a good start and I'm already working on a piece that is a little more jagged and chaotic. I'm trying to get out of the vertical, horizontal way I'm working on this, yet still not have any smooth edges. I think I'm a work in progress myself.
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Gerrie said...

Yep, you need more chaos. Pain is something you have no control over - at first. I shall be interested in your process!! (As always)

Karoda said...

I'm feeling a little of what you are going for in the black/white piece but not in the overall design.

When my oldest grandson was born he was needed help breating and he couldn't cry due to the tube down his throat...it was so hard to see him that way. Thank you for the work you did.

Mai-Britt Axelsen said...

That is a very good story and a wonderful quilt, even if it didn't do what you set out to achieve. More please.

Claire and Leslie are my two favorite people to take classes from.

Karen C Schoch said...

Really nice to see you persevering in trying to communicate your idea here.
Can the quilt itself look like an infant in pain- limbs pulled in, bunched up, face turned away, grimacing? I can see in my mind this joined fabric acting out pain- visually by it's shape and contortions and perhaps some raw ragged edges.
The other observation is the texture on the fabric- I am wondering if perhaps you have created something to soothe the pain instead.
Keep going. Remember being "stuck" is actually good because it pushes you to grow. Are you writing? That is one of the most helpful things that came out of the Benn/Morgan workshop for me. I need to do lots more writing.
Looking forward to seeing the adventure unfold