Megan Griffiths, Six Days of Pain, 2019, 960 x 3300 mm, fabric, thread, ribbon, cord.Collection of the artist. Photograph used with permission. by Megan Griffiths

Six Days of Pain

Megan Griffiths reflects on the inspiration for works she produced for her Master of Fine Arts.

While I was lying in bed at the hospital in severe pain, when I closed my eyes all I could see was black with red lines. This experience is the basis for my artwork on pain. After a period of recovery, I decided to express what I had experienced in hospital through a small artwork consisting of six A5 sized pages in a concertina format. I used a black cotton background and red thread, with cord and ribbon for the lines. I hoped that this might help me get over the experience. This book became the maquette for my larger work Six Days of Pain

I spent some time looking for the appropriate materials for the final piece. I wanted to use the blackest fabric I could find which is velvet. However, the nap on the velvet hid much of the stitching and so proved not to be suitable. The final material chosen is a viscose/lycra blend. It has a slight stretch but is backed with interfacing to keep it stable. I collected a selection of the brightest red threads, ribbons and cords that I could find, including some with sparkle and these were then either sewn or couched onto each of the six panels. 

The panels each represent one of the six days I was in hospital – from Monday (when I had surgery) to Saturday. The density of the colour represents the amount of pain I felt, while the height of the panels represent time. The six panels show a visual scale of the pain I was in. Each piece was then stretched onto a canvas. Stretching these as one would a painting elevates them to be viewed more as a painting than a textile work, but for me the stretching symbolises the tension that comes with the pain as if on tenterhooks waiting for the pain’s return.