Tracey Kershaw 2 years ago

Following a conversation with the ceramic technician, I decided to experiment by adding the ‘mother stories’ text to clay. Beginning with mono-printing, I transferred the text onto clay slabs using underglaze and newsprint. As a first attempt, I was pleased with the results, but wanted to try other techniques.

Using lino, I scribed the words (in reverse), and then pressed the clay onto the lino board (with a light spray of WD40 first, so the clay could be removed easily).

Again, the result was interesting, and I enjoyed the fact that I was able to retain the actual handwriting (size and style) of the person who had written the comment (authenticity in my work has always been an important factor).

These techniques worked well on flat surfaces, but I wanted to see if the same could be achieved on a 3D object. So my next step was to make a sculpture on which to test these ideas. I decided to create a small ‘mother’ figure, uncomplicated in its structure but which would add another reference point to work. I sculpted the figure with an inward curved area at the abdomen, indicating the space where the womb would be located. I wanted the mother to have an organic feel, understated and subtle.

However, having completed the sculpture, I decided to firstly create a mould. Before adding or inscribing text to the figure, I wanted to ensure I would have more than one mother on which to work. Creating a Gel flex mould would enable me to make repeat ‘mothers’, and experiment using different materials.

This was great fun, and I tested the mould using soap, plaster, jelly and wax – all with very different results!