In recent weeks, I have reconnected with fellow artists and creatives. I have been granted the opportunity to discuss my ideas and personal goals and I have really been encouraged by inspiring friends to ‘Go for it!’ So here it begins…….
In my work, I explore relationships. More specifically, I focus on the relationship between a parent and child. Pregnancy and becoming a parent, miscarriage and infant loss are of particular interest to me and I wish to consider further; how society explores or ignores child loss.
My artistic project will draw from personal experiences and I am interested in researching how other artists have explored and presented the topic of children within their own work.
Both male and female perspectives are of importance to my research.
I have found it liberating to explore and make sense of my own emotions and relationships through art and I have become more interested in how people use the arts as a way of personal expression and also as therapy.
I aim to create a new body of work that encourages people to have an increased awareness of the diversity of parenthood. I am particularly interested in breaking down barriers of the perceptions of what the relationship between a parent should be in contrast to the reality of what the relationship between a parent and child is.
I will continue to explore personal experiences and I am motivated to continue to create honest and expressive pieces of work.
Today marks the graduation ceremony for students who completed the MA in Fine Arts at University of Derby this year.
I am pleased to say that I graduated with a Masters with Merit.
The course was demanding, intense and very busy, especially working around a family as well as a job.
It has been challenging and rewarding throughout and now also rewarding in the grades received.
It enabled me the space to delve in to my topic further and engage with creative practices differently to how I had done so before.
I started the year painting and drawing and finished it with an installation which included video and sculpture.
I am aware that I didn’t update regularly throughout the process.
I was immersed in creativity.
Since completing the course I have also put up 3 further exhibitions in Derby. They are all currently in situ for viewing at Derby Hospital London Road Site, Deda on Chapel Street and at St Katherines Chapel at Derby Cathedral.
The winter brings a space for reflection and a time to decide on my future direction with the work that I create.
The MA may be over.
The journey of art and parenthood continues.
The urn continues to be of great interest at present.
I have been investigating numerous ways in which the object can be used in my creative practice.
I have drawn, sculpted, painted and photographed various urns.
Looking at statistics and information relating to infant deaths in 2013, I discovered that there were over 2500 in the U.K.
We have an incredibly high mortality rate in relation to other European countries.
I have also been revising information about miscarriage and still birth rates in the U.K.
Despite the numbers remaining high, the subject of child loss, is still discussed very little. Some women still withdraw and experience a and a sense of isolation when faced with a loss.
The single urn can be representative of the mother, or parent or that of the lost child. The mirror placement creates an infinity, reinforcing the vast number of those who experience loss, whilst also creating space for each reflection to be seen as individual.
I will be continuing this line of investigation further.
I have continued to explore memento and artefacts. My interest in the urn has increased and I am currently working with vessels of various shapes and sizes.
I am considering the mother as a vessel and the interchangeability of the womb and vessel.
I am also considering the urn as a representation of human form, as well as looking at the cremation urn in respect of its actual purpose.
The selection of urns is not a random choice, I have scoured the internet, many antiques shops and second hand stores, to find what I am looking for.
Recent sketches explore ideas of placement of the vessels and how they relate to one another or are linked. I have collected and gathered these objects together and begun to paint them white. They may or may not stay white.
I am enjoying the calmness and purity which is beginning to come through. Quite a contrast to the energy and vibrant nature of a 1 year old and a 12 (I’m nearly 13 Mum) year old!
In December I submitted the final drafts to the first two modules on the MA.
I navigated and battled my way through feminist artists in history and women who have presented work relating to the relationships they hold with their children.
I painted and scribbled and found a cross over from my jewellery business, in to my art – something which I had initially kept separate.
I went with it and created a small exhibition with a portfolio of work created in the past few months.
Something which I have distinctly lacked in recording here.
There were numerous overlaps, mother, artist, wife, worker, academic student. At the end of it all, I was really appreciative of the Christmas Break and time for my family.
The effort and hard work at University has been duly credited and I am happy to have passed Art Theory and receive a distinction for my portfolio and work presented.
I had envisaged January being a hive of creative activity.
I met with external examiners and Professors at the University.
I have connected with mother artists.
I attended Derby City Arts Summit.
I have just received further instruction for the next modules of the MA.
I haven’t really spent much time with my paint brushes.
I haven’t read as much as I would have liked.
I am still moving forward.
I started university full of ideas about what I wanted to explore in my creative practise.
I didn’t have preconceived ideas about exactly how I was going to execute my ideas and now I have too many to comprehend.
The facilities available are more than I could have hoped for and some, I didn’t even know existed.
To a certain degree, I am still working within a comfort zone, using techniques which I am familiar with; painting, inking and bleaching photographs and using these to inform paintings.
The subject matter of the images has taken me away from this comfort zone, as I am starting to use images of my own experiences of childbirth and parental experiences.
I am currently building a portfolio of small scale paintings surrounding the theme of parenthood, however, I now have to consider limiting the topics I wish to cover in my MA.
I wish to continue to use personal photographs, which I will reproduce in a variety of ways, to create work about child birth and death.