Artist Residency in Motherhood

I have just started my first artist residency - the Artist Residency in Motherhood. It is a self-directed, open-source artist residency to empower and inspire artists who are also Mothers. 

The project is the reframing of parenthood as a valuable site for creative practice, rather than an obstruction to be overcome. It was founded by Lenka Clayton and exists to assist those navigating their creative efforts with children in tow, she invites Mother's from around the world to interpret An Artist Residency in Motherhood, and adapt it to suit their own situation.

You can read more about the artist Lenka Clayton and An Artist Residency in Motherhood here.

To start I have answered some questions and this has created a structure and focus for my residency. 

Where are you currently with your creative work?

I have experienced a literal pregnant pause with my creative practice. But I do feel like I'm coming out of the dormancy of this Winter-like period. And with Spring approaching I am asking myself how to emerge; from the pandemic, from the birth of my son, along with the heartbreak of the situation in Ukraine. I have started this Artist Residency to help me answer the question of what is being asked of me at this time. And in an effort to try to show up fully and authentically, cultivating peace and creativity amidst the difficulties.

Is there anything about your current situation that makes your creative life difficult?

My studio is separate to the home and so if I feel an urge to paint I have to set up a workspace, this if it happens also coincides/clashes with naptime which is another disruption to uninterrupted focus. I have a short window of time to spend in the studio and that is usually spent doing everything other than anything creative, admin, accounts, packing orders etc. My key challenges are time, sleep deprivation, pressure to create, responding to everyday changes, materials and tools away from home.

What do you need that you currently don't have?

Time that is flexible and spacious i.e not dictated to by childcare schedules. Solitude and space to think. A space to paint at home that can be found as it was left. A regular routine rhythm of regular sketchbook time. Sleep. A mentor. A brain free from fog!

What would you like to do differently during your residency?

I would like to feel more present with my paintings. There is a pressure when you work for yourself and your illustrations become monetised that anything new you try to create then has to meet this benchmark, and they become victims of intense scrutiny - if they're even started at all. I'd like to start from an organic place free from self doubt and hopefully this freedom of inquiry will translate into my work.

Describe where you would like to be with your work after finishing the residency.

I would like to have created the space for inquiry and to really feel I have investigated what is being asked of me at this time. For the last few years, and especially now, it is hard to navigate the reality and unreality of our world but my aim is to create work that speaks authentically. I hope I will find I have something to say.

What will you do? Write a manifesto for yourself...

I will undergo this self-imposed artist residency in order to fully experience and explore the fragmented focus, nap-length studio time, limited movement and resources and general upheaval that parenthood brings and allow it to shape the direction of my work, rather than trying to work despite it.

By making small changes and freeing the current blocks, creating an opening I am going to hopefully discover, with curiosity and humility, what is being asked of me at this time.

I will be open to collaboration and outcome.

I will hold myself accountable by regularly updating my journal here.

I will start an acrylics painting course and gain a mentor in Denise Harrison, the artist running the course. I have been inspired by her work for years and I am excited to learn how to paint in acrylics under her tutorage. You can read my journal about my first time at class here.

I will create some new work!




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