Tuesday, September 14, 2010

beginnings (part three)

My arty beginnings
part one
part two

and now part three...

May 2006, with our 15-month-old girlie EJ on my hip and our preschool-aged Sass running around madly (as only a preschooler can), my second solo exhibition - 'Forty Weeks' - opened at Spiral Gallery in Bega...

'Forty Weeks' was in essence and actuality a celebration of pregnancy and motherhood (heck, that's what had been occupying my body, mind and spirit over the previous 4+ years!), as I embraced my inner earth-mother and domestic goddess....

and discovered TEXTILES!

mixed media (with buttons) on canvas

mixed media (with buttons) on canvas

As well as being a celebration of motherhood, 'Forty weeks' also dealt with my bodily immersion in the ethical, moral and practical problems that go with the territory of pregnancy, childbirth and mothering..... as an older first-time mother, I came face-to-face with the pressure to undergo invasive testing: my vague ideas about abortion, fetal v/s maternal rights, IVF, breastfeeding,  et al. were no longer distanced theoretical dilemmas -they were real issues to be dealt with on a personal level..... so a significant selection of work in the exhibition gave space to these ideas .....

quilted and beaded stretched satin
(honorable mention - 'in the beginning' religious art award)

12 panels - quilted and beaded stretched satin
(click for larger view)

'love' from the 'wishes and dreams' series
stumpwork embroidery and collage

'Forty weeks' marked a significant shift in my practice. Prior to my pregnancies I had given little thought to what artists materials (in particular paint) was made from let alone consider the manufacturing..... (I admit it - I was an ignoramous) but in the first stages of my second pregnancy I happened to read the label on the tube of cadmium red oil paint I was about to squeeze out..... 


"heavy metal"....."may cause birth defects".....


Never had there been a better time for a solid rethink about materials in my arts practice, and as such most of my familiar methods and materials (whether containing toxic materials, unethical manufacturing, environmental degradation etc etc) were banished..... (I'm still on the journey of how to reconcile my arty and creative impulses with my health and environmental concerns) Needless to say - the changes in my practice mirrored the radical overhaul of my life that only 2 squirmly little miracles can render!
  'you are'
mixed media concertina booklet
also exhibited at red/read book arts exhibition - Artisan Books

'Forty Weeks' was a physically and emotionally exhausting creative journey.....  it represented over 2 years non-stop work (and I do mean non-stop...... only 3 hours before EJ was born I was still working on my bits..... I went back to studio work 2 days after her birth....). 

As the show ended, I thought NOW...

NOW... I can rest for a bit....

but no.... for unbeknown to me,  just around the corner a monster was lying in wait.....

(to be continued)

***more images from '40 weeks' and lots of my past calligraphic works are on a gallery hosted by the ever generous cecilia - at cecilia-letteringart***



  1. "Forty weeks" is stunning. Embroidery on top of all those other skills! Keep writing...

  2. you are amazing, mind blowing amd how you cram so much art into your life . Well done keep it up. Alison

  3. I did have a little chuckle at your sperm buttons! (I know it's a serious piece, but,,,)

  4. chuckling is always encouraged.... in fact, I'm always hoping that folk might break out into a good belly laugh ESPECIALLY when faced with sperm buttons (every time you walked past these boys hanging on the wall, their little thread tails would wiggle and wave..... surely that was worth laughing at!)

  5. Enjoying the journey. Awaiting the next chapter. And in answer to previous post quiz - have not applied for Oz Council or NAVA, but have done a couple of others, including Arts SA.

  6. Wow! more stunning work. I love the fact that these are so totally a part of your life at the time. I think it's a wonderful way to use art-making, to help you work out how to live this complex life.


thanks for all your lovely comments - your words are greatly appreciated xx