TLE Headband

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Headband

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy Headband

The yarn that I talked about spinning in the last post was put to use earlier this week. Within a day I had spun the main yarn, designed and made this hairband. I used a couple of hours of recovery-knitting time after a seizure to make it. Oh the irony.

It has been a proper British heatwave this week (um, for those not in the know that means that we have had more than 2 days at temperatures of over 25 degrees celsuis…) The humid weather had a cause and effect with me.

Heat and Humidity + Inny = Seizure.

Having said that, I always glad when something creative can come out of that situation. As usual I’m trying to make work that talks about electricity and instulation. I had planned for this to be a hat, but hadn’t spun enough of the main yarn as it turned out. The idea I was going for was the colours in UK plug wiring: Earth is yellow/green, live is brown and neutral is blue.

Wiring colours

Wiring colours

I wanted this garment (accessory?) to talk about the electrical circuit and what might happen if it went awry. I have started to do this by mixing the language of wiring with the language of a human EEG printout. The ‘electrical activity’ part of the hairband can sit over my temporal lobe (actually a bit further forward than in the picture) which is where my own epilepsy originates. I rather like it and I might make a hat along the same lines for the winter.

Something interesting and unexpected happened when I saw the hairband worn by somebody else. I had very uneasy feelings in response. Almost as if they weren’t entitled to wear it because they don’t have TLE. That doesn’t sit very well with me (not only because it is just stupid) and I think I need to explore it more. Got any thoughts on this?

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3 responses

  1. I think this is fascinating work, Ingrid. The combination of electrical wiring language and the brainwave readout of a TLE brain is brilliant. I’ve often heard epilepsy (and any seizure, in general) referred to as a short circuit or crossed wires in the brain. I think our emerging understanding of the plasticity of the brain (as well as computer technology advances based on biomimicry) will have us reconceptualizing “wiring” as a crude metaphor, but it still works as an interpretive lens. And wiring is a very productive metaphor for fiber-craft (sliding easily between literal and figurative analogies).

    I can see why seeing this piece on someone else — particularly someone without TLE — might be difficult. The work is based so much on personal experience that I don’t think it is easily reduced to “funky garment.” I suspect TLE is not something you would “wish on” your friends, so seeing them wear it (however metaphorically) could seem a little creepy — like, “Here, try on my debilitating seizures for a while.” Plus, the fact that they can so easily take it off (with or without empathy/understanding of its full meaning) potentially highlights that you cannot. So yeah, I can see all sorts of ways (more than I’ve suggested here, even) that seeing this kind of wearable art on another could cause dissonance.

    That said, I am glad that it exists in the world. And I am amazed that you can be so creatively productive all while enduring the demoralizing prospects of job hunting in a shabby economy.

    04/07/2009 at 6:35 pm

  2. *flabbergasted and moved to tears*

    05/07/2009 at 10:20 am

  3. I just love the stuff you make! You’re the best!

    05/07/2009 at 9:38 pm

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