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  • Bad Mother

Robins, Freddie, 2017, Book Section, Bad Mother In: Bad Mothers: Regulations, Representations, and Resistance. Demeter Press, Bradford, Ontario, Canada. ISBN 978-1-77258-103-4

Abstract or Description:

My daughter’s school class-room assistant loves to knit. Last December she said that she had knitted my daughter a cardigan, as she knew that I never would. On Christmas Eve her husband delivered it, as he handed me the package he said two words, not “Happy Christmas” but “Bad mother”. The exhibition of my piece entitled Bad Mother (2013), after this doorstop encounter, elicited another surprising remark. A male visitor congratulated me on what he saw as a “very honest admission”.
When I was pregnant I was continually being asked what I had knitted my baby. As I was well known for my work with knitting it was assumed that I would be preparing a wonderful array of lovingly knitted items. In my studio I had knitted plenty of things but had knitted her nothing. Guilt eventually got the better of me and she received a jumper, then after her birth depression, and she received some giant pram trousers.
The very mixed feelings, not all together positive that I had upon the birth of my daughter and becoming a mother, are expressed through my work IT SUCKS (2004). In this piece I subvert the traditional hand knitted Shetland Lace christening shawl by knitting the words IT SUCKS in lace holes at the centre of the shawl.
My inability to accept the changes that motherhood necessitated in me was the catalyst behind, How to make a piece of work when you’re too tired to make decisions (2004). Determined not to change a thing about my life once I became a mother I had organised to undertake a residency in Berlin six months after the birth of my daughter. The idea for this work was conceived of whilst I was lying in bed at night, over tired but unable to sleep. During my sleepless nights I developed a process where all decisions were taken away from me, resting on the throw of a dice.
In this paper I will discuss how I have used my practice as an artist to navigate the very mixed emotions that I have experienced as a mother. These tumultuous emotions and my identity as a mother have been the driving force behind an ongoing series of knitted works.

Official URL: http://demeterpress.org/books/bad-mothers-regulati...
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W230 Clothing/Fashion Design > W231 Textile Design
Creative Arts and Design > W700 Crafts > W710 Fabric and Leather Crafts
School or Centre: School of Material
Date Deposited: 16 May 2017 11:33
Last Modified: 30 May 2017 10:48
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/2794

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