I’ve been planning this for a year, after learning about the work of Laura Godfrey-Isaacs at King’s College, London. Her wonderful idea, #maternaljournal, has received the Basil Lee Bursary for Innovation in Communication from the Royal Society of Medicine, London, UK. Maternal Journal honours the period of time leading up to childbirth that – for a pregnant woman – is rich with complex thoughts and emotions.
Art journalling allows a different kind of expression of the mental work done during pregnancy, through the language of colour, pattern, texture, line, and mark-making. No matter if there is no previous creative practice or artistry – the language of art making is for anyone, and it has a wonderful capacity to promote health and wellbeing in the maker.
Regional Arts Victoria has awarded me a Community Grant to carry out a series of Maternal Journal sessions in Warragul, and following disheartening interactions with the local hospital and obstetric consulting suites, general medical practices, and local Maternal & Child Health Services (health providers can’t formally recommend any alternative ‘treatment’ for their clients), I decided to carry on regardless, and offer the sessions privately.
The series of RAV-funded Maternal Journal will be an immersion in a wide variety of art-making materials and techniques, the materials for which will be largely sourced through recycled resources. The sessions will include some tuition in art techniques, but only to the extent that each participant feels free to explore their ideas further. Essentially, the series will be a refamiliarisation with art making techniques that participants may have used before – even as far back as childhood – to enable the visual communication of feelings, often in symbolic form.
Because of the symbolism allowed by art making, participants only need share their thought processes as they feel comfortable, which means that often the deepest thoughts are expressed but can remain private, until the art maker is ready to describe or interpret them. This allows other participants who view the artworks the freedom to interpret in their own way, often finding resonance with the concepts at a deeper level, beyond conscious cognition. Art making in groups, therefore, is an ages-old human connection.
For more information about the Maternal Journal for Health, get in touch!