Mitochondrial DNA within the hair shaft is passed from the pregant parent to their children. In this series of works, hair is used as a symbolic lens to reveal and interpret the tensions and bonds of maternal relationships. Where intricate patterns of hair are knitted, woven, sewn, sculpted, filmed - a maternal bloodline, and the rituals born from its lived relationships, are playfully examined as a way to uncover humorous, yet loving and even obsessive traits of intergenerational connection.

Mothers and daughters in my family have passed down unconscious, yet unquestioned (until now) ‘rituals’ whereby the women dye their hair red. As fate would have it, I was born ginger - with a bit of extra tinting here and there.  Yet the chopping and changing of the individual identities of five generations of mothers simultaneously demonstrates a (seemingly accidental) inheritance and collective identity beyond DNA. 

This body of work encompasses film, (It’s Not Perverse, It’s Mothers, 2022), a large hanging tapestry and ceramic/textile sculptures - or, vessels. Here familiar or expected outcomes are flipped, and instead what is offered is often distorted. Pots morph into unstable vessels, tapestries are loose and fluffy and in places incomplete.

Stills and information about It’s Not Perverse, It’s Mothers can be found under the experimental documentary page on this site. The film comically yet tenderly questions the same maternal ritual that informs my sculptural work, as seen below. Acting as a chaotic portrait, the film reveals the difficulties in attempting to recapture a familial story that can be too revealing or difficult to accept.

Appearing both joyful and bizarre, the delicate and ornate details of the work are subverted by the potential for disgust and bodily horror in the use of disembodied human hair - another humorous nod at the purity and absurdity of mother and daughter exchange.




    
Vessel 6  10cm x 25cm, synthetic hair, cotton, glazed stoneware 2020
 

MINI-ME 

14cm x 18cm, human hair, cotton, glazed stoneware
2022
                                                           

VESSEL 6

10cm x 25cm, synthetic hair, cotton, glazed stoneware
2020

 
 

VESSEL 2

10cm x 18cm, synthetic hair, cotton, air dry clay
2019


TWIN VESSELS
(MARY-KATE AND ASHLEY)

12.5cm x 19cm, artist’s own hair, cotton, yarn, air dry clay
2019




❋ Both hair and clay are organic materials, endlessly malleable with a history of tradition, function and meaning. Clay, transformative matter that inherits the quality of the ground it is removed from, can create vessels from the ceremonial to the mundane.  While from hair, the mitochondrial DNA is inherited from a pregnant parent. How these two materials meet invites the viewer to contemplate the deep rooted generational expressions that inform the work.



VESSEL 14 

9.5cm x 10.5cm, human hair, cotton, stoneware
2022



VESSEL 7

35cm x 32cm, human hair, synthetic hair, cotton, air dry clay
2020




VESSEL 11

4cm x 6.5cm, human hair, synthetic hair, glazed iron rich stoneware
2021
 
  
 

 VESSEL 9 

  9cm x 13cm, human hair, glazed iron rich stoneware, air-dry clay
  2021

   



    VESSEL 1

    13.5cm x 33cm, human hair, synthetic hair, cotton, air dry clay
   2019

   BIG MOTHER

   2m x 2.5m, human hair, yarn, cotton, 2022. Photograph by Gareth Williams.


BIG MOTHER (CLOSE-UPS)

2m x 2.5m, human hair, yarn, cotton
2022

❋ Made between 2019 and 2022, a large hanging tapestry, Big Mother, was created using only human hair which was donated by London hairdressers and individuals around the world through the artist’s social media callouts.  The hair was then bleached then dyed different shades of auburn.

The intrinsic link between weaving and creation, particularly birth, is seen throughout the folklore and mythologies of multiple cultures. A universal mythic trope suggests that weaving is a way to create a substance out of ones own body. The warp and weft symbolises the ‘tissues’ of the child’s body woven into the womb of the parent.



      

VESSEL 3

10.5cm x 21cm, nail varnish, synthetic hair, human hair, cotton, air dry clay
2019

   

    


VESSEL 16

12cm x 8cm, artist’s own hair, air cry clay, nail varnish, cotton
2022



DARK

30cm x 32cm, human hair, cotton, textured stoneware, pumice gel
2022


VESSEL 12

9cm x 8.5cm, human hair, cotton, stoneware
2022

               

CHERUB BACKDROP TAKEN FROM THE FILM, It’s Not Perverse, It’s Mothers, 2022 

Selection of vessels for Infringe Magazine. Photograph by Gareth Williams. Backdrop designed by Anouska Samms, painted by Greg Bradlaugh, Claire Esnault, Javie Huxley.
2020 

ANGEL

10cm x 12cm, human hair, air dry clay 
2020 
This vessel was made to be exhibited alongside the film, It’s Not Perverse, It’s Mothers, (14mins, 2022)






   
   

    VESSEL 13
    8cm x 9cm, human hair, cotton, stoneware
    2022

  

    LIGHT

    41cm x 27cm, human hair, synthetic hair, air dry clay, cotton
    2020



VESSEL 14

9.5cm x 10.5cm, human hair, cotton, stoneware
2022

VESSEL 10

12cm x 16cm, human hair, glazed iron rich stoneware, air dry clay
2021


All photographs with a white background were taken by Benjamin Swanson.