As I begin to work on bigger pieces in my art studio inspired by my year of creative habits and the ongoing project A YEAR OF DOLLS AND ME there are without doubt some distinct themes emerging!
MOTHERHOOD has reared its head again, it is as big a surprise to me as anybody else that this theme has become present again in this body of work. I was pushed there by the dolls themselves, speaking to me, telling me where to journey next as I worked. Grabbing a pen and writing down what their voices were saying, alongside my thoughts and reactions as I work...I have discovered it is them leading the way as I run to keep up, pen in hand! The writing of their words and the reviewing of the conversation probably the most vital part of this process.
I simply cannot imagine drawing, sewing, painting, or any of my art process without pen and paper next to me. Writing down thoughts, connections, clarifications of what the piece in front of me is saying, obvious next steps...the list in endless! Often my written thoughts come out as 'titles'....these I circle or underline in order to keep them separate to general notes.
And it's in the immediate writing down that my working process comes to life! It is breathtaking how quickly an amazing connection, a new thought, a next step can fade into the realms of forgotten without an instant action to seize it.
GRAB A PEN AND CAPTURE IT! WORK WITH A PEN AND PAPER RIGHT THERE!
And so these notes and scribbled thoughts led me back to MOTHERHOOD. And as I created, I scribbled down the connected memories. I remembered the days before my eldest daughter was diagnosed with SMITH MAGENIS SYNDROME when I watched my life, as if from the sidelines, in exhausted tears. I remembered watching, what I later discovered was sensory processing disorder, her wild reactions to the world and her inability to withstand touch, especially of her head or hair. I revisited in my notes the nightmare of that double-buggy with a tiny Poppy reaching forward to play with Tilly's hair and the hour long meltdowns that would ensue. The weird stares I would receive as strangers noticed the re-organised buggy with newborn in front and the 15 month old wedged in the back....anything to protect that hair from being pulled!
I remember the heart-breaking news of her diagnosis, a self-harming syndrome!! The mothering through a fog of the deepest and darkest depression and then my little boy being born....carrying him for a year in a backpack to keep him safe from the hurled objects and the SMS behaviours. The circle had rolled round, now it was my turn for the hair pulling, that constant torture of his little hands ripping my own hair and the despair as my shoulders ached. All of this accompanied by the seemingly ever-present soundtrack of screaming and hair-ripping as my oldest child's behaviours escalated in adjoining rooms. These were some of the darkest times of motherhood for me and sweeping up hair was a part of it all!
And then I catch myself writing WEAR A HAT!! I laugh when I think of it...despair escaped by the simple act of putting on a hat! Sometimes life throws up weird truths like that (especially if you create with a pen next to you!)
|Some of the daily doll drawings that explore motherhood.|
WEAR A HAT....the words play in my head as I begin work on one of the larger pieces inspired by the doll drawings. Only the mum I am now can flippantly suggest 'Put a hat on!', back then, things were too bleak to be flippant about anything...and at the end of the day Tilly would never have worn a hat anyway!
I am linking this post with some wonderful people this morning, firstly my blogging best-mate Crystal and her Year Of Creative Habits project here and over at her tagboard here. Also I'm taking part in THE DRAWING CHALLENGE and linking with Tammie Lee, this week's host, here the theme this week is HAT. To find out about this challenge visit Rose here and keep an eye on her drawing challenge list on the right side of her blog for the following week's host and prompt and also linking to Paper Saturdays here and Sunday Sketches here.