Shared Weight (2018), set of 16 soft weighted objects, aprox. 6-8 lbs each.

Soft, blue weighted pads and transformed neck pillows. These objects were created for the use of conference participants at Blackwood Gallery’s, Running with Concepts: The Empathic Edition, March 9 - 11, 2018. A workshop exploring empathy was offered in tandem with the project.

Weighted pads are used as a sensory tool offering a deep touch pressure. Such proprioceptive input can have a calming, organizing effect. Similar pads or weighted blankets are used therapeutically by children and adults with sensory processing disorders, psychiatric conditions, ADD, ADHD, and autism as well as in classrooms to help kids maintain attention. The weight stands in for a firm hug, squeezing, stroking.

The handmade pads and transformed neck pillows are each approximately six to eight pounds and placed together they weigh the same a I do. This is a personal offering of labour and body. Participants bear my weight which can be at once a burden and a soothing device.

Beyond a wish to soothe the anxieties of presenters in a presentation setting, I am curious about the shared experience of wearing a therapeutic device and seeing a colleague, friend, co-participant doing the same. There is an identification and a recognition that though we are different beings experiencing individual sensation, that your body feels what my body feels.

And why blue? As writer Rebecca Solnit writes in her exquisite A Field Guide to Getting Lost, blue “is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire.”