Mental Health and Justice Commission: Terracotta woman

After logging off from the second workshop, I sat and continued binding. This time, it was a small female figure I made out of terracotta several years ago. She fit in my hand and was rough and heavy. When I made her I felt I needed something to keep me safe. I made a series of four similar figures, without limbs or heads, not as individuals but as symbols of women. Thinking of the Venus of Willendorf, fertility fetishes, self portraits. Strips of red tartan and teal string built up in layers, a cocoon, her original form was lost.

I used strips of a white sundress which I wore in hospital when I was 21, it is fragile now and yellowing. I was on a mixed ward and very vulnerable at first. I learned to fear the male patients and staff and by the end of my time there I was covering myself completely, including my hair.

Binding now is a way to protect the young woman I was in 2006, hiding her in layers. My advance directive is similarly a way to keep myself safe when unwell - an act of care for my future unwell self.