I still remember the first day I wore my blade to the gym. Having always worn a prosthetic which disguised the fact that I had a prosthetic,VERY well, to wearing something far from subtle was hugely confronting. But there is no hiding when you have a blade for a foot. I remember feeling nervous, it was like stepping out onto the street naked but in all honesty, once I put it on and began training, I had never felt so confident in my life. The feeling of wearing a leg that doesn’t pretend to look like a leg was liberating.
A lot of people who have a prosthetic limb talk about how they feel a detachment to their ‘false’ body part. Something that is simply filling a gap, allowing mobility but doesn’t necessarily feel like YOU. Through my postgraduate studies, I designed ‘fashion prosthetics’ in the hope that I could create something became personal to the person wearing it. Not dissimilar to getting a tattoo. I haven’t explored it much since my studies but one day I got chatting with the INCREDIBLY talented artist Andrew J. Steel & we came up with the idea of turning the blade into a unique piece.
Andrew creates his art live with each piece both unique and personal. We sat down and started chatting about my interests, hobbies, & all things ‘Jess’. Due to the artwork being permanently sketched on the blade I wanted to start by drafting some sketches. Using the Live Sketch feature on our Galaxy Note8 with the S Pen made this so much easier. We quickly sketched and erased concepts as we brainstormed.
Once we’d summarised everything ‘Jess’ (this includes references such as #cookingwithjess, boxing, running, dogs, coffee, if you follow me on instagram I probably don’t need to go on) into a series of sketches it was time to get drawing.
Note: it legitimately felt like I was getting a tattoo at this point, not on a pain scale, but much the same process (give or take).
Pulling inspiration from the ideas we’d come up with using the Note8 Andrew started his work on the blade.
My Galaxy Note8 made this whole process so speedy (as well the rate at which Andrew can draw). Before I knew it, I had a leg covered in personalised artwork that felt so much like my own it was unbelievable.