Blanket Sea

Arts & Literary Magazine

Category: Art (page 1 of 2)

The Nightstand Collective: An Art Project by Emma Jones

Emma Jones has spent much of her life navigating chronic illness, which inspired her curiosity about how others make space for their illness, create tools for resilience, and, most importantly, make meaning of their illness experiences. Through her project, The Nightstand Collective, she explores the lives of the chronically ill through the intimate space of the bedroom nightstand, and the items we keep close in times of vulnerability.

Fibromyalgia. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. (More photos, description, and list of items here.)

Artist’s Statement

When I first became sick, I took my symptoms to bed, imagining that I could treat them with rest. I had to stop the life that I had so carefully dreamed of, arranged, and created for myself. I did not bounce back to my old self and slowly realized I had to organize a different way of living. In the beginning, there was a certain novelty to being in bed; as an incredibly active person, giving in to the resting medicine was not easy.  I had no name for my symptoms. By the time that I was handed them, my life had become very small and I felt unrecognizable.

Major Depressive Disorder. Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. ADHD. Neurological Damage due to Fetal Alcohol Exposure. Head Trauma. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. (More photos, description, and list of items here.)

For a long time, I was unable to read, watch TV, or follow narratives of any kind. My world became my bedroom and the items on my bedroom nightstand. The things that I kept close were very carefully curated for specific purposes; some were medical, but most were possessions that I just enjoyed looking at, that brought me comfort. My nightstand was a way that I could strategize my energy use by keeping the things that I would need for a whole day close by. It was also practical, held some art, some magic, items from friends, items from my old life, bits of the natural world; some things were to encourage and to inspire.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. Fibromyalgia. Celiac Disease. Occipital Neuralgia. Asthma. Major Depressive Disorder. Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Insomnia. (More photos, description, and list of items here.)

My nightstand was my nest, and while it was small compared to my old life, it reflected my growing inner world. I would look at my nightstand and wonder about all the other people out there struggling with the “unnamed” disorders that had taken their life down, and I would think about their nightstands. I spent a great deal of time imagining nightstands around the world, and I was curious as to what tools people were using to help them create a bigger life. And what did a bigger life mean to them? Folks who are dancing with chronic illness are remarkably adaptable, incredibly strong, and creative, yet they are never recognized as such; and it was these misconceptions that became the seed that led to the creation of The Nightstand Collective. I wanted a quiet space where the items could speak for themselves and show the life behind them. 

Chronic Pain Syndrome. Fibromyalgia. Nerve Damage. Thoracic Bone Spurs. Cervical Bone Spurs. (More photos, description, and list of items here.)

I have been working on The Nightstand Collective for two years now and have had submissions from people from all over the world. I have had the most incredible communications with some of the most resilient and fascinating people I have ever had the pleasure to chat with. Many of us are canaries of the world, and I am curious about how they make their life, adapt to their symptoms, what tools they use to lead a nourishing life. I am still learning about how people are managing their illness and what are the things that support them. I have a yearly book list of all the nightstand books and it gives us a window into some of the inner work that people are doing; people are diving into some intense and transformative topics.

Lyme Disease and Co-Infections. (More photos, description, and list of items here.)

I have had folks tell me that my website is depressing; I don’t find it so. It is a matter of fact that we will all have to dance with illness at some point in our lives, and others can be our guides into all of the ways that a life can become full. There are many people out there creating art, leading vibrant relationships, having spiritual experiences, and finding beauty all from the small space of their bedroom nightstand. It is true that some of the nightstands reveal a frightening reality of some awful diseases; some are stark and some are taken over with medical equipment, but somewhere there will always be one little item that tells a story of that person beyond their disease. I do hope to keep collecting nightstands and at some point start compiling the data on the objects that can reveal some patterns. It has been a great honor to peak into these very intimate spaces.



 Emma has a background in theatre and film both in front of and behind the camera, and has recently started working in audio featuring narratives about healing from traumatic injuries. You can hear her work at Her project, The Nightstand Collective,  has been featured in Huffington Post UK, Mashable Social Good, The Mighty, West Journal, and The Italian Endometriosis Foundation.       


Art by Jake

“Angel of Death”

(A character standing in a background of glitchy effects of many different colors: pink, aquamarine, and purple. His hands are near his chest but obstructed by the effects.)


(Three woman are standing around each other: the woman on the rights face is glitched out into the ground with bright red colors.)


(Two skulls with bright red eyes, melting into each other from either side; crystal-like effects are present.)

“Faking It”

(A girl’s head is the center of the image with bright glitch effects covering most of her bright green hair.)


Artist’s Statement

My art is a expression of my headspace, my interests, and my ideas. The pieces featured here are about the information age and technology, and how overwhelming and sometimes scary it can be to navigate, as well as the feelings that can come with being overwhelmed. As someone with ADHD, it can be scary to have that much information at your fingertips, and it can cause aniexty and stress. I tried to go as bold and bright as I could with these pieces to express those feelings. 



Jake does experimental, bright art based around themes of mental health and internet culture. He currently goes to Manhattanville College for art education and is graduating in 2019. He has also gone to School of Visual Arts in New York for a year to study animation. He plans on teaching art to high school students after he graduates. Find out more on his website, Instagram, and Twitter.

Art by Chris Cox

Figure 1. The artist Chris Cox Wild_Canary in his small, cluttered home studio, holding a foam scale 2 plug of the head of his design, “Windy.”

Figure 2. “POD” by Chris Cox Wild_Canary installed in Providence, RI, since May 2016. The artists premier sanction public large scale sculpture the sculpture stands 7′ tall and 12′ in diameter the cluster of six black, fiberglass, monolithic, abstractly shaped panels reveal whales within the negative space created by their silhouettes when considered in pairs.

Figure 3. The sculptural design “Reindeer” being seen mid-fabrication to a scale of 3 based on the original maquette [seen next to its larger cousin]. This monumental abstraction of a wooden children’s Christmas toy stood 5’6″ tall 2′ wide and 6′ long and was installed in The Arcade in Providence, RI, for the 2017/2018 holiday season.

Figure 4. “The Windy Origin Edition AP” seen from behind. A minimal abstraction of a dog, this sculptural design is in the proccess of being fabricated 11′ tall, 12′ wide, and 17′ long, for temporary exhibit in the Rlying Horse Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition in South Hamilton, MA, August – November 2018. Seen in the wooden scale 1 Origin Edition format three angular hook shaped beams make up the legs and tail of the dog, while the dogs head is a curvy boomerang shaped panel, filled with holes of varying size that make the canine’s piercing gaze and give interest to the ears. Not only does the stance of this abstract depiction of my dog create a sense of motion, the sculpture itself can move as it is held together with an unbonded steel pin system, allowing for interaction and play with the piece by being able to swing the dogs tail and the legs in relation to one another, making the dog come alive with its ability to assume different stances.

Figure 5. “The River Crab Origin Edition AP,” defined by sharp, edgy, contemporary lines. A futuristic abstraction of a crab, this sculpture is of engineered interest, modular in design four wooden leg components contact the ground at their extremities and meet in the center at a carbon fiber junction plate which levitates above the ground plane, due to its connection to the legs by way of a steel pin system. Above this black junction plate seemingly floats a iridescently white, fiberglass plane that curves through axis, making the head of the crab.

Figure 6. “The POD Origin Edition AP” seen in the artists home with numerous other maquettes hanging on the wall behind it. The design created in this wooden format 12 times smaller than it stands in Providence, RI.


Artist’s Statement

Having dropped out of the local community college in the first weeks of an artistic education due to mental illness, Chris Cox is artistically self-taught but trained in fabrication processes. Within the artist’s aesthetic, representative abstractions are visual metaphors of rules and lessons of life learned through the survival of schizophrenia. In Wild_Canary’s sculptural practice, all his designs start off as small maquettes, most commonly made of wood and fiberglass. Once a design has been created, he makes careful plans to recreate it on different scales. The artist viewing all the maquettes as future large-scale creations. Using the skills and experience gained through employment as a boat builder and custom fabricator, the artist is able to consider the large-scale fabrication of the design as he is creating its concept, preemptively solving problems. Considering the transportation and installation of the large scale artworks, Cox favors composite fabrication, thanks to its light weight and strength.

Although his artistic ambitions focus is on creating a legacy of large scale sculpture, Wild_Canary [Cox] is in the practice of creating smaller scale sculptures, most notably a collection of limited Origin Edition sculptures. The sculptures made in the Origin Edition format are hand crafted to be the closest recreation of how his designs were first born as concept maquettes. These Origin Editions are built in small limited batches, to scale one, by directly tracing off the designs’ original concept maquettes. Using the same simple materials, tools, and methods the concept maquettes were created with. Due to the nature of the materials and fabrication methods, each piece in a design’s Origin Edition, while crafted with great care to match the original concept maquette as closely as possible, is still subtly unique and one of a kind. Due to the Origin Edition’s format, the sculptures of the edition have a quality of historic importance and appeal, memorializing the moment of the design’s creation. Allowing the collector to peer back in time, as his career progresses, and remember his artistic legacy’s humble origins, for this reason, the sculptures in this format are called “Origin Editions.”


Chris Cox, known on Instagram and other social media as Wild_Canary, is a self-described sculptor surviving schizophrenia. Graduating from the International Yacht Restoration school with certifications in composite manufacturing and repair; later working as a custom fabricator of large scale sculptures at Amaral Custom Fabrications. Taking the skills learned through years of employment experience to create his own designs on a monumental level. Starting with mid scale sculptural graffiti installations and later making his premier sanctioned large scale public installation in 2016, entitled “POD,” still installed in Providence, RI, and standing 7′ tall and 12′ in diameter. For the 2017/2018 holiday season, the artist built and installed a 5’6″ tall, 2′ wide, and 6′ long sculpture entitled “Reindeer” inside The Arcade in Providence, RI. Cox has just executed a successful crowdfunding campaign to build a new sculpture, entitled “Windy,” a 11′ tall, 12′ wide, 17′ long abstraction of a happy dog, to be part of the Flying Horse Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition in South Hamilton, MA, this August. Being quoted as saying [he] “is so determined to create a legacy of large scale sculpture, it seems destined.”

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