20 May

Work In Progress: Patterns of Influence

Towards the end of April my mental health started to collapse. I lost hope, and felt I had nothing to look forward to. I also felt intensely isolated because while I do lots of reaching out to people, very few reach out in return. I’ve struggled with depression in the past and could feel a bad one coming on if I didn’t find a way to cope with this.

I made myself go to the studio to work on this series of pattern paper cut pieces that I started during the Leeway Studio residency in 2015. It was the right thing to do, and just the lifeline I needed.

Up to now there are twenty-six pieces in it, and I’d been procrastinating figuring out how to transform them into a 3D installation for an upcoming show (next year). Giving myself time to work on this aspect of an existing piece of work allowed me to refocus and snapped me out of the bad mental state. It’s been so hard to concentrate or be creative the past few weeks so this project felt like a lifesaver.

The series of thirty-six laid out in the studio

Once all twenty-six existing pattern paper cuts were measured, cut, and folded into 3D boxes, then I decided the series needed at least ten more pieces for an even thirty-six. It was fulfilling and satisfying to build momentum and get the entire project into a more complete state.

I still have lots of work to do on this installation before it feels “complete”, and a major hurdle will be assembling and hanging the piece. I’ll figure out this less fun part another time.

To bring it back around to mental health, because that’s where this blog post started, I wrote about this on IG at the time because I hoped my experience would help others. It’s been a crazy struggle of a year, and we all need to do what we can to keep ourselves mentally healthy.

© Rachael Ashe