Nothing was left to chance, everything was clinical.

Katie Moore is a visual artist from Foxford in Co. Mayo. She uses textiles, stitching and installation in addition to drawing and video to create visual experiences of her world. Katie told us about living with cystic fibrosis, how her artwork is inspired and what we can do to help.

I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis -or CF, when I was 6 months old. My family and I were living in America, where I was born. When people ask me ‘what is it like living with CF?’ I sometimes think ‘what is it like not living with CF?’ I don’t know any different, this is me. I’m 29 years old and have always known I have CF. CF is a genetic disorder and so it is not contagious; people are born with it. It’s Ireland’s most common life threatening inherited disease. “I’m a very positive person. I look after myself really well, I don’t drink or smoke, I eat very well, exercise daily, and I take all my medications. I’m determined to keep myself as healthy as possible. People often don’t realise the devastating impact that cystic fibrosis has, because their sickness perhaps isn’t obvious or because they are isolated at home or in hospital. Sadly I have lost many friends to CF, but having support from friends and family always helps. “I’m very creative, and I actually think my love of art started from spending so much time in hospital growing up, and getting colouring books and pencils as gifts. In hospital isolation you also become an observer, you notice the small details, the beauty in the ‘ugly’. “During my last two years in college I was unwell due to my CF, having to spend a lot of time in and out of both Beaumont Hospital Dublin and Mayo University Hospital. With the help of my lecturers I decided to use this time as inspiration for my artwork, a method artist of sorts. I photographed sections of both hospitals, and collected some medical items. I began to draw from the photographs and the items, to capture feelings of isolation.

I chose to work with the cloth that seemed to be permanently around me, hospital gauze. I liked the idea that I was working with something commonly used to soak up blood after an injection, place over a wound, to help in the healing process. I hand stitched embroideries on to the gauze. My project was very much about the process of what I was ‘doing’, giving each stitch a lot of consideration, they are there for a reason. “The hospital gauze is vulnerable and delicate, signifying how one feels when regularly in hospital. I explored the notion of the false privacy created by hospital curtains and gowns. I decided to make 36 hospital gowns using gauze, as there were 36 people living in Mayo with Cystic Fibrosis at the time. The gowns are sheer representing false privacy, and I wired them to convey the idea of the absent body. I was working with the idea of creating a presence of absence. I brought the feelings and memories of my time in hospital into my work. Thinking about the randomness of how one is chosen to have a clinical lifestyle, to the times of despair when one realises you cannot do anything about it; life unravels. “I recently graduated from the Centre for Creative Arts and Media at GMIT with a BA first class honour in Design in Textiles, and was short listed for the RDS Student of the Year Award 2015. In March I won a Ten Outstanding Young People of Mayo 2016 Award in the Humanitarian category for my fundraising work with the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland. I have run 3 marathons in aid of CF; The Dublin City Marathon, The Madrid Marathon and The New York City Marathon, as well as organised various fundraising events.

“Currently, I am artist in residence at the Jackie Clarke Collection Ballina, and my work will commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising. The residency finishes with an exhibition of my work entitled Paper Bloom, which opens May 7 in Ballina. I’m making a piece of installation art, and a limited edition publication. “I would encourage women of Ireland to take part in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon this June 6, as part of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s ‘One in 1,000’ team. Cystic Fibrosis Ireland is the leading national organisation dedicated to improving the quality of life of people with CF and their families across Ireland.“

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