I created this piece for my Human Lifespan Development course at Goddard College in the Spring of 2016. It was my first semester in my graduate program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Expressive Arts. As part of the program, students were required to complete their own Expressive Arts process and create and present art related to our coursework. After seeing the incredible ways my peers had incorporated Expressive Art into their learning and internship work. I was really inspired to create something meaningful and symbolic.
I was moved by Erikson’s work and the significance of the crisis of each stage as we mature through life. I decided to represent each stage with an applique quilt square, but I did not want to depict the person directly. I decided to create an image of a person’s bedroom as it might look as the person progressed through these stages. Below is my artist’s statement as it appeared beside my work in the Haybarn Gallery at the Fall 2016 Psych Residency at Goddard.
Erikson’s Room (2016): I created a series of appliqué quilt squares for my Human Lifespan Development course. Each of the 8 squares represents one of Erikson’s stages of Psychosocial development. With a combination of free-motion machine embroidery and traditional appliqué techniques, I used different textures and patterns of fabric on linen, as well as several different types of thread to create the images. The squares represent a bedroom as it evolves throughout the course of an individual’s life. I designed each room to include items symbolic of each of Erikson’s stages, and to depict an idealized life where each stage is successfully navigated. One stage I particularly resonated with was the 5th stage, adolescence, ages 12-18, Fidelity: ego-identity vs. role confusion. I felt connected with this room as I created it because it is a major turning point in most of our lives in which we work out our adult identities. In this room, I tried to recreate the chaotic feelings of adolescence, as well as depict the sense of excitement and open possibilities that many of us experience through this stage of life.
By Robyn Heydari