Kevin refers to Lionel Shriver’s novel ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin. I christened my 48mm triple negative carcinoma Kevin soon after diagnosis. I needed to get my terrified brain to know that it was inside me and would kill me unless it was addressed. The name stuck. After surgery I wished Kevin gone. In chemo and radio therapy I wished every molecule of his being destroyed. In physio, I put on pink boxing gloves and belted the hell out of his DNA.
The stitching of these works felt like a no-brainer. Writing with pencil, pen or brush was just wrong. These words needed to be pierced through fabric, pricked, pulled looped and tightened – needle-worked into form.
This choice was also something that made sense early on. I had begun to collect vintage handkerchiefs a few years prior to the cancer. There is something moving in their initialled corners, hand-stitched for the owner, perhaps as a gift. I knew I would use them but wasn’t sure how. Working my story onto these pieces of fabric from the lives of others, I’ve begun to understand that there is meaning in hankies! They are keepsakes and love tokens; they are waved in goodbyes and surrenders, and they dry our tears.