Rosie Rawson (b. 1991, London) graduated from the University of Brighton with a BA Hons in Fine Art Printmaking in 2014. She has since worked in various school settings, supporting young people with their learning and well-being. In 2016, Rosie studied Creative Arts Education at the University for the Creative Arts where she began to align her creative practice with her personal and professional experience of navigating health, neurodiversity, and inclusion within education.
My work explores the relationship between memory and materiality through textiles and digital print.
Memory is traditionally conceived as a discrete phenomenon; however, emerging theories of thought describe the nature of memory as transmutable and flowing. Inspired by memory as a fluid process, my work playfully explores a re-membering of the experiences of chronic illness and PTSD.
Trauma pathologises time - flashbacks snatch you into the past, ruminations keep you there. ‘Sick-time,’ as described by Alice Hattrick in her book Ill Feelings, ‘is not linear-time. It is circular. It lapses and relapses, it drags, loops and buffers’. Pacing slows time down, bed-rest halts it. I am looking for a vocabulary to describe my experience of being ill - an alternative vocabulary to the capitalist, patriarchal and colonial description of sickness, a language that enacts a caring, and compassionate temporal framework.
To retrieve memories, I scan childhood objects and photographs. I bounce the images back and forth between digital and analogue processes. To reorganise and rewrite the memories, I layer and weave the manipulated scans, using methods such as sewing and bookbinding. The process is recursive, images are printed, scanned and reprinted - memories, prints and textiles re-collected.
My practice is both a therapeutic outlet and a research tool. I both care for others, and I am cared for. I utilise the concept of diffraction to explore this duality and its inseparability. Diffraction, as conceptualised by Donna Haraway and Karen Barad, is an alternative methodology for research which emphasises its embodied, affective and unpredictable nature. It is through this lens I ask the following questions:
What does a playful, dynamic textile/print practice look like?
How could a textile/print practice help someone to embody softness when re-turning to a difficult memory?
Can a textile/print practice assist with finding different ways to describe the experience of chronic illness?
Can a textile/print practice be adopted as a method of ‘wayfinding’ through sick-time?
I start with a copy that generates glitches, pixelation, and misregistration.
Paper and textile folding allow for concealing, unfolding - revelation.
A scan momentarily stabilises these movements - an image is captured by scattered, oscillating light.
I print and re-print, print and re-print.
I pause. My hands trace the surface, and my fingers outline the shapes as I reimagine my past-present-future.
Stitches remain as traces of this temporal wayfinding.
I am fascinated with the entanglement of memory, time and materiality - it's messy and complex - just like my bedroom and my trauma. My work is scattered and dispersed - just like my attention.
Living with ADHD, complex trauma, and chronic illness hasn't been easy. And at times, it wasn't easy finding the language to describe what I was experiencing. With ADHD, it is common to experience emotion and time-blindness. The internal perception of mood and time passing is distorted. These experiences made me curious about our current descriptions of time-based phenomena.
Medium:Digital print and silk hand-embroidery on Shoji paper
Size:11cm x various
Medium:Digital print on cotton-satin with machine embroidery
Size:Unfolded, 5cm x 20cm
"The most anti-capitalist protest is to care for another and to care for yourself. To take on the historically feminised and therefore invisible practice of nursing, nurturing, caring. To take seriously each other's vulnerability and fragility and precarity, and to support it, honor it, empower it. To protect each other, to enact and practice community. A radical kinship, an interdependent sociality, a politics of care." 'Sick Woman Theory' - Johanna Hedva
One evening in December 2022, I was scrolling through my phone and found an accidental image of my bed taken during my first Covid infection. In the months following this infection, I experienced a severe relapse with PTSD. My brain was on fire, and I thought I was dying.
I decided to use the image with negative memories attached to begin a gentle, reparative process of printing and sewing.
The image's pixel grid and the textile surface's warp and weft operate as a matrix - pixels and threads are woven together.
The textiles' frayed edges invite connection through stitching. The copied image's pixelation reduces complexity to clarity.
The matrixial surface is a site of healing and transformation.
The bed is re-imagined and re-claimed.
Medium:Digital print, collage and silk thread embroidery
This book is a response to the linguistic bombardment of medical letters of misdiagnoses, conversations littered with unhelpful comments, such as "Unlike you, I don't let my pain define me," along with the texts from a well-meaning friend with that magical cure I've never heard of before like "have you tried eating vegetables?'"
During my last stint of bed-rest, I began to feel the pressure of the world demanding my 'recovery' along with the absurdity of the DWP, once again redefining my identity. So I started to re-collect images of my bed, a daily site of comfort and discomfort. Intuitively and meditatively, I digitally played with the images to re-script my story - a visual description of my lived experience of my life lived in bed.