notes on handmade bandages and alternative healing
Inspired by the histories of medical illustration, particularly those that depict the art of making and tying bandages, I began this series of eight crocheted bandages. Personal factors too, declining heath, limited access to health care, and an admitted skepticism towards established healthcare systems, contribute to my ongoing studies of alternative, restorative modalities.
Each bandage was saturated with an herbal decoction formula derived from my research on plant medicine. For instance: Vulnerable Locations, Jaw, applied a decoction of St. John’s Wort, a suggested remedy for Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ); Vulnerable Locations, Knee, used a turmeric decoction, a trusted remedy for inflammation. They were then fitted with elastic so that they could be worn and photographed.
Additionally, bandages on corresponding stuffed and hand-stitched canvas body parts were arranged with correlated medicinal plant matter and vintage pharmaceutical paraphernalia and then photographed.
In common with the traditions of wise women and domestic practitioners, this body of work presents a series of self-administered actions such as those passed from one generation to the next, learned and imagined, metaphysical and potent, that draw upon the powers of the mind and the hand to heal.
Achilles Binding Patroclus' Wounds, Red clay Kylix. ca. 500 BCE
Altes Museum, Berlin
Attribution: Miguel Hermoso Cuesta, CC BY-SA 4.0
Vulnerable Locations, from left to right:
St. John's Wort for Temporomandibular joint (Jaw); Ginger Root for sore Shoulder;
Hawthorne Berries for Heart palpitations; Bilberry for pressure in the Eyes;
Turmeric for inflammation of the Knee ; Cleavers for swollen Lymph Glands;
Myrrh for Gingivitus (Gums); Burdock Root for swollen Ankle.