I have breast cancer.
The good news is that the cancer is stage one. The bad news is that it is triple negative breast cancer which is aggressive and hard to treat. So, I have to do all of the things…chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. All in the middle of a global pandemic. At this point, I am finished with chemotherapy and surgery which all went well. I’m getting ready for radiation later this spring, but my prognosis is very good which is a huge relief.
I was diagnosed late last summer. While I never kept it a secret, I chose not to share it on social media. I’m sharing it now because the project I have been working on is about my cancer journey.
Last August, I started experimenting with weaving. I created a small cardboard loom in a square format and combed though my stash, gathering all of my small balls of yarn. Without any preplanning, I started working on some abstract shapes and built the weavings from there.
After completing four or five weavings, I looked back to see when I started the project and realized it was the week I was diagnosed. Because the weavings are created intuitively without any preplanning, I feel they are a reflection of my sub-conscious and how I am dealing with this scary health challenge. In many ways they remind me of electromagnetic imaging, brain wave patterns, microscopic cells, etc. They serve as a visual timeline of my cancer journey and I am keeping them in the order they were created. I just completed my 20th weaving this week and I plan to keep on going for quite some time.
The idea for the project was initially sparked by the small weavings of Sheila Hicks from her exhibition catalog, Sheila Hicks: Weaving as Metaphor. The work was made primarily on a small loom she carries with her to experiment with different ideas and techniques. These pieces are powerful enough to stand alone on their own but they have also inspired larger works.
I think that my biggest challenge dealing with my cancer has been keeping “my head in the game” and staying mentally strong. It’s something I have to work on daily. I do my weaving in the evenings at the very end of my day. I love the feeling of the wool, the repetitive nature of the task, the colors, the simplicity and how quickly I can complete one small weaving. I like to see the work piling up as it marks the passage of time. It’s soothing and rewarding and satisfying.
Each piece is a surprise in the end because it never turns out the way I thought it would be when I started…just like my life this past year.
You can see more of Laura Morrison’s art at lauramorrisonart.com