Last Saturday, at Ladyfest, Chelsea Murphy and I ran an hour and a half discussion followed by collective creation workshop, exploring social media and consent. Many important talks were had whilst beautiful patches were made! I am going to be sewing these into a quilt/wall hanging...which will then be displayed somewhere in Manchester soon.
I recently enjoyed a tour of the Birth Rites Collection by it's curator, Helen Knowles. The collection features work from a variety of artists and is housed in the Salford University Midwifery Department. There is a huge range of work on show, that explores many different aspects of pregnancy, birth and motherhood/childhood. Although not (yet) a mother myself, pregnancy and birth are fascinating to me. I am in awe of the things that the human body can accomplish and think that birth (however it happens) is deeply beautiful. In my work I am (and have been for a while) thinking and researching birth. Mainly from my own perspective. The work has yet to emerge, but following this exhibition tour I feel a new excitement to make my research into something more. Something physical.
When I was 9 years old I watched my baby sister be born onto the carpet at my parents house. It was loud and busy and fast - but never frightening. That experience was a formative moment of my life and I am thankful every day, that I have know my sister since the moment she took her first breath.
Last month I turned 23. I spent my birthday in Seville at a conference, with my Mum. On my birthday evening we went out for a meal and she told me the story of her pregnancy and birth with me, and my 18 months. I mostly knew the story already; from her going into labour while watching the sunset on the beach to my arrival at home, as the clock passed midnight. But there was something magical in the way I felt hearing her tell our story. I recorded her voice and have listened to it several times since.
I am not yet ready to be pregnant, to give birth or be a Mother. But I can feel a longing for it, deep (or, sometimes quite close to the surface) inside myself; though my work I am looking for a way to give birth to that, instead.