My Mother Is An Artist

My Mother is an Artist is an exhibition of women’s art in Edinburgh, running from Friday the 23rd of June to Sunday the 9th July at the Dry Dock, Leith Links.

The exhibition, the brain child and passion project of artist, Farcay Moon Grouse, opened on Friday night when guests were welcomed into a sari-strewn haven where Claire Bailey played guitar and sang mellow tunes. The evening flowed with a mixture of conversation, music, poetry, prose and art (of course). Tasty plant-based treats were provided by Marie-Anne Marten of the Beetroot Cafe.

A  real highlight of the evening was hearing the various visual artists speak about the inspiration behind their works, and about the practicalities of being both aa mother and an artist. Some of the pieces on view included the luminous buildings by Cassandra Harrison, botanicals by Susan Smith and upcycled textiles by Pavithra atul Surma.

Kate Christmas (yes, she told us, that is her real name) and Farcay Moon Grouse spoke of their journeys to being able to call themselves an ‘artist’, about the role of art in their daily lives, and the benefit of art practice for mental health. Penny Hodson spoke about her portraiture practice, and how her daughter starting school had given her time and space to work.

It was a joy to meet and talk to Holly, Penny’s young daughter, who obviously was incerdibly proud to be accompanying her mum to this exhibition. Holly spoke, along with Kate Christmas’s children, about their experiences of having a mother who is an artist. ‘Fun’ was the word all the children used, although Holly also let us know some of the downsides – including the problem of ‘the easel gets in the way a lot’ and ‘the painting gets knocked of the easel and water gets knocked over and spills!’

The written and spoken word was equally celebrated. A poetry reading by Sarah Dyer, opened with a poem ‘to bring us together’, penned only that morning, which – as a work in progress – allowed us a glimpse into her writing process. Sarah went on to share the valuable advice of writing ‘what you know’.

Poet in residence, Rose Ritchie, read a selection of poetry: some that had grown out of bus stop conversations, and another called ‘Do Not Tell Me’ , written to convince herself that she could do anything she set her mind to. Rose spoke of the uplifting role writing played in her life and observed the positive influence her life as an artist has had on her children – including how it has encouraged them to pursue art themselves.

I stood up with my (borrowed) cape and read a new story about bodily functions, motherhood and superpowers. (Editor’s Note: well worth hearing!) To hear an audience respond to privatly formulated jottings was a real treat. (Photo: Helen Sheil, Sandy Bennett-Haber, and Sarah Dyer).

The space around each reading encouraged conversation to flow, and the memories and reflections inspired by the readings were shared in a fantstic Salon atmosphere.

The whole exhibition is a marvellous networking opportunity for artists and mothers, who perhaps (if they are anything like me) don’t always identify themselves as an artist, but for whom art is part of their every day. Edinbugh is a great city in which to raise children in; it is a great city in which to be an artist. The opening of this exhibition was a great opportunity see the positive symbiosis of art and parenthood.

The exhibition runs until the 9th of July and there is a full listing of biographies and workshops on the website. 


One thought on “My Mother Is An Artist”

  1. Sounds like a wonderful time and space in which mothers and artists could gather to appreciate and enjoy the work that each of them does.
    The role of mothering and that of being a creative in any field of the Arts is equally demanding in very different ways, so hats off to all those mothers out there who manage to juggle both.

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