we think back through our mothers … or do we?


About the project

exhibition, lodberrie traders, lerwick, 17 – 22 october 2016


‘For we think back through our mothers if we are women.’

(Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own, 1929)

On 9 February 2010, I wrote the same letter to my mother and to my gran. Accompanying the letter was a box of objects and questions to which I asked them to respond. In return, I would make a piece of artwork. My mother sent back copious responses, whereas my gran was silent. I responded to the same objects but left the project incomplete. When we cleared out gran’s house, after her death in January 2013, I found the tin box of objects to which she had diffidently begun to respond. The work in the exhibition was based on the four themed questions that were in the box, and conversations and exchanges with my mother regarding all of our responses.

Mend – what would you most like to repair or mend?

Home – what does home mean to you?

Place – imagine a cotton reel unwinding and an invisible thread taking you somewhere you’ve always wanted to go or to a favourite place… where is that place and why would you like to go there?

Plant – what would you most like to plant? Where would you plant it and why?

This exhibition was made possible through a Visual Art and Craft Award from Shetland Arts (part of a Creative Scotland awards scheme) and the work was developed with my mother, Margaret Aldington. Our journey towards the exhibition is documented through my blog.

The work was exhibited at Lodberrie Traders, Lerwick, Shetland, as part of Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing festival, from 17 – Saturday 22 October 2016.