Wrist Injury: future of art making

Rebecca D. Harris wrist injury future art making

Alongside the loss of sight, losing one’s use of their dominant wrist as an artist is your worst nightmare! Summer last year I did something to my wrist, what I did I have no recollection of. I just know it was somehow sprained and hurt when I tried doing stuff with it. Being my right hand it was the one I would always go on to use, grab in a stumble, pick up stuff, open doors etc. As the year went on it got progressively worse. Further damage came when out with the children at our local roller disco (yeah, I know) I was the human version of Bambi on Ice. Determined not to give up I kept going and then before long was hurtling, what felt like 60 miles per hour,  towards a pole to break my fall. My right wrist took quite a shunting and then I proceeded to do some pole dancing as I had to grab and swing around as the momentum was too strong. It, however, wasn’t until many weeks later, after doing weights in my local gym, followed by weight-bearing yoga poses, I had to go to A&E (yes, I ignored it and didn’t get help earlier). They thought I broke my scaphoid, X-Ray didn’t agree and I was given an appointment at the local fracture clinic a week later.

Bambi on Ice

It was here I had a CT scan (below) which showed a scaphoid to lunate ligament (scapholunate (SL) ligament) total rupture (see the gap in my scan below, crescent-shaped bone on vacation from the others). They wanted this confirmed and just before Christmas, I had an MRI (something I totally geeked out given my art/science work and having done work with MRI scans). This confirmed it, apparently the most crucial ligament in the structure of the wrist. I am now awaiting open surgery, removing a tendon from the bottom part of my wrist and screwing this in place of where the ligament once was.

Ct Scan scaphoid


This type of injury severely alters the mechanics of the wrist and I have ongoing pain, issues in movement and use. With the operation, my wrist will be of no use for several weeks. It is very concerning where I will be left once this has healed.  Furthermore, I will inevitably have arthritis in the future. I am trying to stay positive and explore other options for making. This has included, of late, collaging.  I am going to try and get some sewing done though before the operation.  I am now off to the studio to start a new piece!

art collages by artist rebecca harris

One last thing I have been thinking about recently, was in her later years, Louise Bourgeois  (a huge inspiration of mine) had restricted use of her hands due to arthritis.  She couldn’t continue with her sewing, but the prolific maker never gave up!

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