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
Love and unfailing threads of lucidity
Glisten and cut through
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!