Under the blanket


In the studio. A muggy day. Warmer. The sun trying to push through. Slept well but feel totally exhausted. Needed the rest but feeling I could sleep for a thousand years.

There are so many stories that go untold for fear of causing harm to others and some will remain under the blanket forever silenced. Time is the healer of all ills. Sometimes I peak below it think can I talk then decide no. Best to leave untouched and safe.. There are stories that I will tell when the dust has settled.

Listening to Antony and the Johnstones, Cripple and the Starfish and these lyrics from are loud in my mind as I write this:

it’s true i always wanted love to be hurtful
and it’s true i always wanted love to be
filled with pain and bruises

Motherhood is painful. Relationships with adults are painful. There can be no love without the pain. Excepting this helps me to move on. You can be happy within pain. To live is to suffer. To live a full life, to feel, to touch, to breath, to be open, to give birth, to hold a child close and yet help them to be independent, all these contradictions, best to embrace them, to be willing to take risks, to except failure, to know that I can be both home and comfort and love but I have the potential to cause suffering, to be aware of my power, not to abuse this position, inevitably there will be hurt. When Naoise says please no more photographs. I should listen. I should stop. I should respect the needs and wants of my subjects. It can not all be take.

I have deliberately protected my eldest son from this space. He is a young boy becoming a man he has a say in what I publish here. I have the upmost respect for him. Last night he showed great maturity and kindness by looking after Naoise for half an hour so that I could attend a group meeting at  the local pub Amazing Lefty Women making things better in Calder Valley.

The lefty women were truly amazing. I have to thank my friend for literally taking me. Her actions helped me to act. I hope that our words and passion and skills will become action. The woman running the local food bank said that she felt totally overwhelmed. Good will come of this. It has too. We have no other choice than to work together. Least there is hope. It is no good to get depressed, no good for anyone.


Driving the car to the studio I was dreaming about this project, how to make sense of it, how to begin to talk about it. Its a project about love and loss and longing. About holding on and struggling to let go. Its about saying goodbye to fertility. Its about middle life and watching my children grow, realising that I cannot hold them back. Its about walking and finding and accepting change. Its about knowing that I will not have anymore children and trying to come to terms with tis decision.

Its about loosing weight, I didn’t tell you I have now lost fifteen percent of my body weight. Thats a success. Sometimes I think that these words are not helping, that everything is about failure but perhaps they are a balm, a way of making sense of my life of finding focus and love. Perhaps this has bought me closer to excepting who I am and of finding value in my work and my role in society. Speaking out, expressing my inner thoughts and feelings, refusing to be silenced, recording and documenting confessing my vulnerabilities my imperfections. Seeing through.  Through my words hopefully speaking for others finding connections.


Images of the playground, nature and the changing seasons, empty prams, fluffy baby animals, sleeping, my sons drawings, duality, locality, identity, observations, snippets of conversations, conflicts that I don’t understand, how conflicts are resolved or those that fester, anger, feelings of frustration, meditations and reflections, my children growing, developing, my own development as an artist and a mother/artist, ambivalence towards mothering and towards the making of this project, documenting the work and the writing of others that have influenced my practice, transparency, trying to be honest, asking questions not necessarily knowing what the answer is, sharing information, muddling through, pushing forward, doing what I can in the time I have, an urgency to make, time slipping away, making the most of what I have, a DIY approach, new beginnings, ideas, ways of seeing, developing photographic practice, developing autobiographical writing, an auto ethnographic approach, maintaining me, my family and my arts practice, distinguishing actions of care from domestic work and cleaning !

What next…..my mum asked me Are you writing a book ? 

Article on Mary Kelly. Sad to discover that she is no longer speaking at The Motherhood and Creative Practices conference.

10, 000 revolution: meet Mary Kelly, the mother of all feminist artists, The Guardian, Monday 18th May 2015 


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