February 2016

I joined Open Studios in 2013 and the theme was “Tension” we were all required to create a new piece of artwork with this theme.
The header on this blog is the artwork that I made for the event, below you will find the journey that I traveled to create the artwork.

Making “Unspoken” caused me to creatively examine my role as a Carer, an Artist and a Mum.

For so many years my broken heart had been spilling unspoken heartache.

Mountains of lost dreams and broken promises lay scattered on the floor.

I challenged myself to push past what I believed I was capable of creating, and immersed myself into the arduous task ahead.

Months, weeks and hours of challenging problem solving ensued.

Each successful challenge poured a balm upon my open wounds, each nail hammered and every screw turned; pierced thorough my guarded armor.

The Unspoken Silent World of Mental Illness” encapsulates a mothers struggle; it celebrates survival.
Although she is torn, she still remains, Although she is broken she still stands.

Her magnificent light cannot be shielded, nor can it be extinguished, she is the covering over her son’s life and she holds within her the hope that he cannot yet believe.
Here is my creative journey –

To start at the beginning you have to have a concept

Finding the right Torso,

breaking it and imagining how to lace it back up again,

and don’t forget the sanding I thought it would never end.



                         broken hearts need something to hold them together

An undercoat, (I wondered if it would stick?)

and a double dip of my newest favourite paint (Rusting undercoat)


Planning the Lips

And forming them with Air Dry Clay and a little paint to make them real


A cage to hold them


Unspoken are the words of a Carer, never to be told, 

locked away her lips are sealed, holding broken dreams

and secrets that cannot be taken back

Serious tools for serious metal forging

It was a difficult task, but the results speak for themselves


Each curve carefully forged, each chain attached to the next


Starting on the background, I added lots of texture

and my favourite antique book pages



Considering Branches and doing a dry run on the layout

the rusted corrugated iron did not make it into the final artwork


Now to get to the Heart of the artwork (pun intended)

Formed with Air dry clay, Painted blood red

and adorned with vintage book page words.

Another silent whisper of my insides


A heart is not a heart without wings

Wings give you hope

This blood red heart and rusted wings

perch above a rusted funnel that flows straight inside,

waiting for the glue to dry was tricky


Now for a bit of Alcohol Ink, 

especially on the metal bits in the background

Notice the difference between the left, which is coloured onto the metal and the primed background on the right


An oxidised worn down fork telling the story of my days

Finding new tools, forging new holders, what was I thinking?


Ahh the light fitting is coming together


I am excited at the glow of the light bulb it was such a special moment,

but fear creeps in,

how on earth am I going to attach the torso to the backing board?


There is even a little piece of me hidden in the tree

And a little piece of Ashley as well


Some rusted bolts because Carers need strong stuff to hold them together


I eventually figured out that I had to make my own attachers

And I had to use an interesting number of things 

to hold it together while it dried

(you can never use enough glue on a piece like this)

No matter what I was going to make sure that nothing fell off!

The back was a bit messy before the final tidy up

And then it was finished

Below is my Artist Statement


The Unspoken Silent World Of Mental Illness

Torn and Fractured

We are held together

By the strength of

Raw determination

And Tears

Love and unfailing threads of lucidity

Glisten and cut through

The darkness

Locked doors

Behind unfulfilled potential

I am the mother

of a mentally unwell child

I am a survivor

I hold hope in my heart

And I pray x

This was my very first large piece of artwork and my first piece to hang in a gallery, thankfully it was well received.
I’m still uncovering my artistic voice, unfortunately my inner critic has had a field day!

Christina x


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