Othering Me, Othering You

Image shows strands of finger knitted wool of differing lengths arranged in a circle with the ends at the centre in a spiral. The wool is multi-coloured.
Othering Me, Othering You, 2023, Wool

I created this piece using wool. The wool came from a cardigan I made where I found the seams to be too irritating so I unpicked it. I am very sensitive to seams and labels in clothing. I was left with lots of small balls of wool in varying sizes and I followed an intuitive prod to finger knit each ball into a long strand. This took a few months and during this time I was working on my dissertation for my creative psychotherapy master’s, which was a heuristic inquiry into the experience of othering people different from me.

This piece is a creative synthesis of what I found out about myself in the research. It became clear to me that othering people, for me, is a somatic response to being triggered by people that somehow remind me of the people that abused me in childhood. The somatic response of a tightening in my solar plexus then kicks off anxious thoughts that circle in my head. I came to this awareness through creative workshops that I held for myself in which I followed intuitive urges to move, be still, make things, or write. I sometimes found myself walking in a spiral and coming to stillness in the centre, where I would feel and notice.

The space created to feel and notice is depicted in the spiral of wool at the centre of the image. Othering happens regardless of whether I want it to, but I have space to observe, rather than act on it.

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