Memory is neither static nor absolute. The mind recalls memories imperfectly, adding and releasing details, never able to recall the elusive truth of personal history. Childhood memories are bound in this reality of remembered facts and forgotten particulars, true fictions unto themselves. No one teaches women how to be mothers. It is a skill learned through memory and emulation. A woman follows the teachings of the women who raised her, but only her own recollection of the lessons. Her memory is unerringly altered in the retelling of time. The maternal figures who so influenced her own course to motherhood are now only ghosts, hazy, their voices faint. By creating drawings of mothers in charcoal and their offspring in pen and ink I reflect on the blur of motherhood and the divide of the clarity of child rearing. The layers of vellum depict the separation of the past and future generations of women. Like memory, vellum slightly clouds and obscures the mothers. The images of the mothers are rendered in charcoal, which can be fuzzy, messy, and imprecise, like a child’s impression of a parent. On the other hand, the children are drawn in pen and ink, which is tedious and painstaking and permanent – much the way parents view childrearing. Pen and ink requires study – every line deliberated upon and purposefully chosen, much like every decision in parenthood. A child does not notice a new line on a parent’s face, or a new gray hair; a parent notices every scrape and scratch, the precise shape of a new tooth or the tremor of a closed eyelid. These mediums explore simultaneously what it means to be the child of a mother, and the mother of a child. Through this series I explore motherhood and the mutable remembrances of childhood in the context of memory.
bethdixonwelch, “Beth Welch,” Artist Parent Index , accessed February 5, 2023, https://artistparentindex.com/items/show/536.
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