Guess I’m going to write keywords for failure, shame and motherhood and see if that works. Also maybe I’ll write one for failed motherhood. Not sure if you can use two words together as a keyword. I’m asking Toby but I think the main thing my work is about is revealing my shame at my perceived failed mothering for the purposes of gaining a sense of relief and togetherness/connection for both myself and the viewer.

Ok Just heard back and yes a phrase can be considered a keyword.

So now I have to make sure I’m using keywords that link to all the aspects of my project in one each.

My work is about my experience of motherhood especially with Dan. How it has affected my relationships with the kids, but also more specifically how it has affected how I see my self. So it’s personal work about me, not about mental illness or Dan. It’s about being the mother of a son with serious mental illness and how that has changed me. It is geared at other mothers who may feel the same. I am doing it because I have this strong urge to confess before I can move on with other relationships, especially friends. Sharing that information with friends who have similar issues creates a more intimate bond between us and I feel somewhat estranged from friends that have better experiences of motherhood and especially better relationships with their adult children. There is a shame that I have not been able to provide the necessary mothering to retain strong connections with my children, even though that was definitely my intent. I crave connection with others who have a similar situation and have managed to be happy anyway. Witnessing others in similar situations gives me relief and especially if the situation remains realistically miserable. Seeing people cope and go on makes me feel like I can also do that and it’s not wrong. Not wrong to be happy even if the situation is not what I wanted. Not wrong to be happy even if my kids are not. Not wrong to be happy even if I made mistakes.

I need keywords that relate to what the work is about, what I want it to do, means by which it might do this.

Motherhood failure, Shame, Reveal, Relief, Accessible, Aesthetic, Resilience, Connection

To hone these down I need to work out which ones can be subsets of others.

Motherhood failure, content, this could be said to imply shame without shame being a keyword. Encompasses family dysfunction and the arising of mental illness or disability like ASD (or the feeling that this reflects a failure even if not logical). Perhaps strongest in the prodrome to mental illness when it just seems like you have raised arseholes. Children’s actions reflecting on you. Controlling your identity. Means lack of affection from kids, apparent lack of care by kids. Poor choices and anger, inability to access the help needed. Unable to execute the utopian family life envisioned. Not raising the kids you planned and linking your happiness to their outcome.

Reveal, my way of presenting the content, not just documenting but this is about being bold in the telling, showing the things that do reflect the concerns of motherhood failure. Bringing the hard things into the light. Airing the dirty laundry. Perhaps a caveat is that the reveal will be geared at the attuned viewer. If you have the experience before you will better recognise what is being revealed. This is the personal therapeutic aspect of the work, laying all cards on the table to be able to continue forward with real relationships.

Accessible, enhancing interpretation of content, really has similarities to reveal, but perhaps could be thought of as making the reveal more effective, augmenting the content, giving the best chance of the reveal being understood. Here I can roll in both resilience and aesthetic I think. Beauty encourages access, resilience also encourages engagement as the opposite of fragility which puts up a barrier. Quilt format feeds in to accessibility, suggestive of something the viewer could aspire to make himself. More familiar material. Displayed in locations outside of traditional fine art settings. Speaks more of the everyday.

Relief, result of this content, reason for making this work, now this one could encompass connection I think. The feeling of relief could come from the knowledge of connection in one part and also from aesthetics whereby there is pleasure in the beauty. Counterpoint to distress. Includes the notion of healing, mindfulness, togetherness.

That might do I think. Four is enough. Can always add more later.

While I’m stressing I think I’ll put some notes down about significance for my new and improved proposal that I’m yet to write.

Personal significance for me – mindful activity, satisfies the need to confess that I have, form of reducing stress and flow on physical illnesses. Helps with developing a component of identity not so bound to the kids. Develops personal resilience. Significance for the viewer or broader community – Opens up discussion around what may be for a lot of people a secret shame, creates a feeling of togetherness and sharing for those that can identify or recognise the full extent of the work, develops connections. May even encourage engagement in art work itself by showing work made in accessible materials, familiar to many women. All the more necessary now, in a time when the world is increasingly disconnected, when mental illness in reported in the media to be on the rise and when mothers are largely shut out of the management of mentally ill adult children, in part due to a restrictive mental health act which prioritises individual freedoms and confidentiality over access to treatment.

If I was going to add another it would be togetherness, as a way of expressing the source of the relief.

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