I am… hesitant. There are things that need to be written, things that I don’t necessarily feel like writing but know I should. The blog for this project is to tell an honest account of the life of The Connecting Thread. To stay true to that promise to myself and to anyone following the journey, to maintain authenticity and honesty, I really ought to write about Sunday.
Sunday was the day I packed up the artwork and drove it down to Newcastle. The gallery space was ready with necessary wall structures in place. Hooks needed to be added, as well as the string, sheets, pillowcases, information boards and information pamphlets on the side. A beautiful vinyl with the project name and my name in black lettering had been created. My good friend Ian and I, along with two helpful and delightful men at the Bioscience Centre, put everything in place and that was that. The artwork was set out in its new home. (The two worker men reminded me of Fraggle Rock’s Doozers as they seemed to come out from nowhere, quickly did their work, then mysteriously disappeared).
The reception was low key and celebrated with Cava in hand. The Lady Boys of Bangkok provided us with thumping tunes as their tent is set up just outside the doors of the Bioscience Centre. Oh, Centre for Life, you are so varied in your entertainments. Good conversations were had, but honestly, by the end of it I was completely shattered and just wanted to find my bed, wrap up in warm blankets and put the day behind me.
Throughout this project, it has been interesting to hear people’s reactions to the last pillowcase – the blank pillowcase. You start with big, swooping, green hills, stone bridges then move to Georgian houses then a house made of mud. Vibrant and deep greens, golden yellows and touches of blue take up the visual space and then of course there are the details of the stitched words. You walk along and follow the story, you finally arrive at Newcastle and see the Bioscience Centre. You shuffle passed that big sheet and end up staring at an empty pillowcase. Most people have seen this as something positive. “Oh. There’s nothing on this one. Oh! I see. It’s the future. It has yet to be written.” This is the usual reaction and one that I am pleased with because the viewer is ending on a high. One girl that viewed the artwork on Sunday said that she felt sad about the last piece; it had brought a tear to her eye.
Initially, I had seen that last blank canvas as something positive and hopeful. Now, I see it as a big, empty expanse. And it, too, bothers me in a way that I had not anticipated.
Because the thing is, and this is the thing, when this project began we were living in a lot of hope. It was my final attempt at IVF and you have to live in hope that it’s going to work for you. This time. This is the time when things will happen because you think you deserve it, because you’ve suffered enough really and it would be nice for life to shine down and smile on you and your happy dreams. Well. We know how that ended. It took 9 months for me to process that kind of loss and to be honest, it will never be fully ‘gotten over, ‘ it will be something I carry with me through all my days.
After awhile, we took the steps to apply for adoption. Again, there was hope in something good, in a nice sunny outcome, something to look forward to. A difficult step, but a choice met with excitement and anxiety, sometimes in equal measure. That blank pillowcase would be filled with a different outcome, but something wonderful and shiny and brilliant. Unfortunately, the much hoped for and anticipated outcome has resulted in something quite the opposite. I have somehow ended with less than what I started out with. Instead of a family of two and a dog, it is just now me and a dog.
I found Sunday difficult. I found it difficult because all of my emotions were pushing their way to the surface and I couldn’t contain them. I found it difficult because now when I look at that blank pillowcase, it makes me feel raw and broken. It’s a feeling of being stared at by the nothing that is a result of dreams that haven’t turned into anything tangible.
“Isn’t it common for artists to suffer for their work?” a friend of mine asked. Or was it “because of their work”? I can’t quite remember the wording. I suppose it would be ridiculous to think that I could make this and be unaffected by it.