Shadow sack is a hanging, stitched sculpture, with knitted grey tentacles leaking out of it and spooling onto the floor. Amongst the multiple grey strands of knitting there are several golden tendrils.... 

Poet and author, Robert Bly, suggests that we all drag behind us a long bag which contains things we have repressed since childhood – passions, feelings, memories, behaviours and more. He calls it a shadow sack.

As we get older our shadow sack begins to leak and we’re compelled to examine the contents. Sometimes we find gold amongst the shadows. 

What’s in your shadow sack?

I made this sculpture in response to a callout for an exhibition called 'Instructions Not Included', about women and ageing, facilitated by Amanda Hall. Participants were invited to transform a woman's swimming costume with their thoughts and feelings about ageing. In the end there were 79 swimming costumes from 63 women, ranging from 14 to 80. It was a fabulous celebration of womanhood and life!

It was held at Kitform Gallery, Bristol for just 3 days from 26-28 May 2024.

I was most delighted that many visitors couldn't help touching - and even hugging - my sculpture. One woman said 'Every home needs a shadow sack.' 

I am challenging myself about sustainability so for the leaking shadows I used a selection of grey mixed yarns from a large stash that was given to me by a friend. The stash had belonged to her late mother. I find it interesting to use yarn that has been chosen by someone else. It limits my choice, in a way, but also adds a wonderful range of colours and textures that I might not have chosen. A curious change in control. I have written about another sculpture, Stash, that I made with this same collection of yarn here and many of my thoughts about that apply here too.  

Part of my process of making is to knit whenever and wherever I can and Shadow sack was no exception! I was lucky enough to be on holiday on a hot beach while I was making it so knitted shadows in the shade:

and gold in the sunshine: 

Another part of my process is performative and involves some kind of physical interaction with my work. I often wear it, if that’s possible. I think it’s a way of embodying it, of making it me.

Here I am interacting spontaneously with my latest stitched sculpture, Shadow sack , in our garden on a sunny day in April…. Some kind of weird private performance? Welcome to my world!




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