Six Levels of Pain

  • This is an assignment that I completed during the fall of my freshman year at RISD.  Clara Lieu asked her students to create six separate drawings that depicted six levels of pain.  I took a much more physical approach to the assignment and knitted and wove six different, four-foot-length scarves that evoked six different levels of feeling or pain.  The audience was welcome to try on each of the six scarves and experience each physical feeling.  The scarf on the left was hand knit with a very soft merino wool; the second from the left, hand knit with a courser wool; the third, hand knit with a thick, acid dyed rug wool in combination with acid dyed fishing wire; the fourth, hand knit with the same rug wool with added pieces of steel wool woven in; the fifth, hand woven with twine in varying gauges; and the sixth and final scarf, hand woven chicken wire and staples.  
    Another added layer to the six levels of pain was how difficult it was for me to complete each successive scarf.  The first three were simple and actually quite relaxing to complete, just as they should be for the viewer to wear; yet, the final three scarves were quite difficult to complete, they tore up the skin on my hands and left my fingers blistered, just as they probably would if the viewer wore them for some length of time.  Each successive scarf inflicted a more intense level of pain on the viewer and on the artist.        
  • Detail of the first scarf, soft merino wool 
  • Detail of the fourth scarf, hand knit rug wool and steel wool 
  • Detail of the fifth scarf, hand woven twine, two different gauges 
  • Detail of the sixth scarf, chicken wire strips and staples