I've always loved bandages; their soft, unbleached colour and supportive texture.
Bandages are our attempt to make things better, wrap up, swaddle, contain, nurture, heal.
As 2020 draws to a close, it seems pertinent to reflect that it has been a year to remember in so many ways; challenging, dark and filled with shadow, yet pregnant with opportunity for deep healing as old traumas have been triggered and brought to the fore. Many of us have keenly felt our vulnerability and lack of control for the first time in our lives, and coped with this by using all manner of 'bandages' that held and supported us during this period. By gardening, baking, painting and helping our community, we made meaning of a situation that otherwise seemed so fruitless.
I've been creating Bandage Scrolls featuring Goddess Women; to me they look equally beautiful hanging long and unfurled, or wrapped in on themselves, featuring mainly their reverse and tatty sides.
Bandage Scrolls feel like they contain something precious and tender of our personal stories, and making them has certainly assisted me in the process of breaking and mending that I've experienced throughout 2020. The global trauma has plunged me into old memories - my history brought to the fore in a stark and unavoidable fashion.
I've noticed during the Pandemic the desperate scramble to organise, dictate rules, control and gain power over the virus - a struggle for control that becomes ever more elusive as Covid mutates and nature continues to envelop us in the way that she chooses.
I'm struck by memories I have of being told about apartheid in South Africa, and my own experiences in Northern Ireland, where the powers that be attempted to organise blacks, whites, Protestants and Catholics. Of course, nature would not have it. Facing a multitude of people who would not fit neatly into their boxes, the South African government finally devised a water tight test to ascertain the category in which an individual belonged. By placing a pencil in a person's hair, they knew they were white if it fell out, and black if it stayed in. It seems amazing to our modern sensibilities that things got this desperate in the minds of adults who were in charge of a nation.
Perhaps all this is a lesson in letting go and sinking into the stretchy bandage of life. We will never control it and we don't need to.