Spoon Theory


Spoon Theory ©2021, 39" x 27"


Spoon theory, is a concept or metaphor used to describe the amount of mental or physical energy a person has available for activities of living and productive tasks throughout a given amount of time (e.g. a day or week). It is most commonly used to refer to the experience of having an invisible disability because people with no outward symptoms or symbols of their condition are often perceived as lazy, inconsistent or having poor time management skills by those who have no first-hand knowledge of living with a chronic illness or disability. Each activity requires a number of spoons, which will only be replaced as the person "recharges" through rest. A person who runs out of spoons has no choice but to rest until their spoons are replenished.


What does Spoon Theory have to do with my Wander theme or the overall New World theme? I think some of it is part age, some is part pandemic and some is just increased awareness of the things that others are living with, dealing with on a daily basis. Some are suffering in their own mental or physical pain, some are mourning the loss of friends, family, career, identity or other. And some have always been just coping and weren't on my radar. In my New World, I hope to do better to accept people where they are, to harbor less judgement and unfair expectation and to share my resources when possible. Life can be brutally challenging and I have been very fortunate.

Big Spoon, a precious gift from my friend Nancy, poses for my paper-piecing pattern making.


My first challenge for this piece was creating a paper-pieced pattern. It was a first for me and it took a little time - more than I'd anticipated. I ended up with a 27 piece pattern for each spoon....and hopefully a skillset I can use on a future project :)


I had the tail ends of an indigo dye bucket, so I dyed some white linen and got this chambray-like color. I created a "map" for the pieces I needed and made little piles of all of the pieces for each spoon.


I decided to print some of the linen for the sake of contrast - - unsure where it was going at that point. I used acrylic paints and a gelli plate with some clippings from my side fence to print the all of the additional fabrics.

The shiny white and blue spoons were made with leftover scraps from my mother's wedding dress. The way the satin reflects the light, even in a dimly lit room, made the spoons shine like real silver spoons. As the rows progress, the spoons fade into the background and disappear - some leaving only embroidered traces.



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