Votives and Charm Bracelets Materialising Health-Related Experiences Through ‘Sacred’ Objects

Barker, Garry ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1686-3738 (2023) Votives and Charm Bracelets Materialising Health-Related Experiences Through ‘Sacred’ Objects. In: Wearable Objects and Curative Things: Materialist Approaches to the Intersections of Fashion, Art, Health and Medicine. Palgrave Studies in Fashion and the Body . Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 281-298. ISBN 978-3-031-40017-9


The concept of a physical artefact acting as an intermediary between the embodied individual and the quasi-divine has historically taken many forms, including charms and tokens worn to ward off evil and ensure good spiritual and physical health. This chapter focuses on the artist Garry Barker’s practice whereby he aims to give material form to people’s psychological relationships with their bodies. Responding to themes that emerge from one-on-one conversations with project participants, Barker has used the making of votives and charms to articulate and materialise people’s health-related narratives. More recently he has been using the charm bracelet as a device for the presentation or exhibition of small sculptures and images that are designed as objects to help mediate between desires to transcend the problems of everyday reality and the need to seek wish fulfilment by channelling more spiritual forces.

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