‘sensorium’ selected for SK Arts’ permanent collection

I’m very honoured that SK Arts has selected my embroidery sensorium (2016)—part of my symptomatology series—for purchase for their permanent collection.

sensorium is a depiction of the hypersensitivity and hyperexcitation of my nervous system due to ME/CFS and took approximately 60 hours to stitch. My main sensory sensitivity is to sound and vibration—hyperacusis—which can absolutely overwhelm me depending on the volume and timbre of the sound. My entire nervous system becomes involved, and though this symptom has improved with a lot of desensitization work it still affects me daily.

In the centre of some bone white linen, there is a spine embroidered in a thick satin stitch. Emanating from the spine are thick burgundy lines in an undulant oval shape. This oval is bisected across the middle. In the top half, there is a section outlined in burgundy filled with coiling blue lines and a similar section in the bottom half. The rest of the undulant oval is filled with fine coiling burgundy lines. The spine is very straight, the rest of the embroidery is very coiled and busy.

This was the big submission I was working on in March. The acquisitions officer found my embroidery work while trying to contact my husband about something and invited me to submit! It took a fair bit of work to figure out pricing and update my CV but it was well worth it!

Being in SK Arts’ permanent collection means that not only is my work part of a well-maintained collection of Saskatchewan art, but it is also part of their loans program and will likely be seen in galleries and offices across the province.

Switching from mainly performing arts to fibre arts has been a major change in my life. To have this sort of professional recognition as a continuation of my very multidisciplinary career shows me that all the creative work I did before I became disabled by ME/CFS helped me to go deeply into a new medium.

As my health improves, I’m making small forays into music and writing again while continuing my embroidery practice as a restorative way of working. Even on my most depleted days I’ve felt like an artist thanks to embroidery, but it also feels really wonderful to come back to a multidisciplinary practice, even though I won’t be doing performance work anytime soon.

Update: SK Arts did an interview with me about my practice and the purchase of this piece in February 2022.