Friday, 24 June 2016

Week 1

3rd March 2011 

This was the first time the group met together. We were located in the gallery for the initial session and after introductions, were paired up to draw each others' real, or imagined, birth stories. Whilst one partner vocalised the narrative, the other drew from this story. Sometimes creating illustrative drawings of what happened, at other times creating abstract marks to convey the feelings and emotions. 

Alex and Kellee

Alex and Kellee

Kellee's depiction of Alex's birth story

Kellee's imagined birth story as represented by Alex

Anna and Jenny
Jenny and Anna

Anna's imagined birth
Jenny's drawn interpretation of Anna's imagined birth story
Anna's interpretation of Jenny's birth story

Helen and Sue
Sue and Helen
Sue's drawings of Helen's birth stories

Helen's drawn representation of Sue's birth
Lisa and Lulu

Lisa and Lulu
Lulu's drawings of Lisa's birth story

Lisa's representation of Lulu's birth

PM - Collage

I collaboratively run a monthly collage night through a facebook group in Manchester and London. I decided to extend this to the work I was doing at the Whitworth. I spent a good few weeks sourcing pregnancy books both old and new which I brought in alongside some of the other books collected for collage night. We spent the afternoon session sitting around the large tables in the Worthington room cutting up these books and gluing and sticking images together.  It was fascinating to see how women were portrayed throughout the different eras; the 70s seemed to hold on to varying notions of motherhood. Sometimes sickly sweet nostalgia at other times open and honest manuals about fertility and women’s bodies. See ‘Our Bodies Ourselves’ or 'Spiritual Midwifery'. All ages had sections dedicated to getting back into shape and by the eighties yoga for pregnancy was big! See Jane Balaskas’s books. Amazingly there is echoes of the forties and fifties imagery of postpartum excercise in all.  Participants, however, had very different focuses. Lulu concentrated on the esoteric aspects, creation and the cosmos as well as the sheer pain and effort involved in birth.  Anna was more preoccupied with the connection between sex, conception and birth. 

 Anna's collage

Sue's collage

Jenny's collage
 Lulu's collage 1
 Lulu's collage 2

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Week 2

10th March 2011

Drawing from YouTube

I became intrigued by the massive amount of YouTube videos posted by women of their births, some highly medicalised others in water some unassisted. I was contemplating ways to record or document these experiences and thought how interesting it would be to work with the group to draw from the footage. I am interested by the potentially graphic/sexual nature of the videos and how this might be altered through the drawing process.  Equally as a collaborative project each woman might bring something different to the representations.
We set up in the lecture theatre of the Whitworth and used the large projection screen to watch a series of selected videos posted by women from around the world. We slowed them down and sometimes would ask to pause the video. At other times we just surfed YouTube to see what we might find.
We used mono-printing techniques. A small sheet of glass inked up and laying paper on top. We also used a drawing machine created as part of Samantha Cary’s ongoing research at Newcastle University into drawing and cognition. Made from a shoe box, paper was wrapped around two sticks and looped over the surface and drawn on. As each scene was annotated the paper was wound from one reel to another.  Strips of drawings were produced. We also worked onto large sheets of paper from rolls, slung over tables and wound along, as well as sketch books and normal sheets of paper.
We spent the entire day absorbing and drawing from these moments of women’s lives. Questions were asked like; why do women post up their births? How do they feel about this kind of exposure? How edited is the footage? Is it about empowerment, education, communication or exhibitionism?

Drawing from YouTube

Alex's drawing

Jenny mono-printing in response to YouTube videos

Jenny's mono-prints

Kellee using the shoe box drawing machine

 Kellee's mono-prints

Lisa using the shoe box drawing machine

 Lisa's mono-prints


Lulu's drawing strip

Sue working from a YouTube home birth video
Sue mono-printing

Sue's mono-prints

Some of the drawing strips generated during the session. These were made using the shoe box drawing machine, the Dervinci as invented by Samantha Cary. Please take a look at her blog