In this piece, Eileen graphically portrays images from her experience of living and working in Belfast, some of this time as a nurse, during the Troubles in Northern Ireland from the mid 1970s to early 1980s.
The title 'Continuum', while focusing on the Troubles, reflects Eileen's familial connections with the two World Wars and her sorrow at the continuing suffering conflict wreaks on society. Among its appliquéd images, the repeated figure of a crying child expresses the terror inflicted mercilessly on even the very young.
This Continuum, she believes, spans not only past to present but extends into the future on a global level. " . . . Though not perfect, Ulster has obtained a longed-for level of peace and reconciliation . . . but conflict has transferred elsewhere in a continuum; like a contagion, terrorism threatens peoples everywhere." Her response as an artist "in the face of hatred and lack of compassion, is [to] speak of love, in stitch, word and music."
Eileen expresses herself in stitch, in part stemming from her family background but also because of its close relationship with all of us: “we wear clothing daily, are wrapped in blankets on birth and, in death, are clothed for burial.” As an artist working with textiles, this connection goes deeper: “The rhythmic act of hand stitch…touches something in my soul…I also feel that stitch is a metaphor for damage and healing; the needle punctures the cloth in a violent act but the network of stitched threads heals the injured surface, making it whole again.”
A poem composed by Eileen, which accompanies the piece when exhibited, facilitates further reflection on the myriad of issues encompassed in 'Continuum'.