The mother lode project

Mother lode: a principal vein or zone of gold or silver ore, or colloquially the real/imaginary origin of something valuable or in great abundance. [Wikipedia]

The aim of this project is to extract the gold from challenging experiences of motherhood by giving opportunities for artists who are mothers to work with those who may be experiencing mental health difficulties as a result of motherhood. This will involve a series of art & writing workshops to be held at the De La Warr Pavilion led by artist-mothers for a group of mothers referred by Recovery Partners, resulting in a podcast & publication of their work, which will raise awareness of the hidden issues surrounding motherhood & mental health. The project aims to give voice to a diverse group of mothers at all stages of motherhood, whose experiences may not otherwise be heard & connect with professional women artists exploring motherhood. Anyone who identifies as a mother is welcome.

Women artists are still underrepresented in the art world & those who are mothers face additional barriers to creating work, so we aim to champion their work & increase visibility & confidence. The project will employ women artists who are mothers, which will raise their profile in the local community & celebrate their roles both as artists and as mothers. The project was created & will be managed by Xaverine M A Bates, who wants to channel her experiences as a mother with first hand experience of mental health issues & use this to enable others to express difficult/taboo feelings about motherhood, in order to help others overcome challenges through different creative media.

The aim is to enable mothers who are struggling with mental health issues to tell their stories in ways that have both artistic quality & therapeutic benefit in order to raise awareness of the hidden challenges of motherhood, to help others understand & empathise with these issues. There is more work to be done in raising awareness of the mental health challenges that many mothers face & we are researching other projects championing artist-mothers e.g. Spilt Milk, Procreate Project, Mothers Who Make, Mothers Uncovered etc.

 Project outline

  • A series of free workshops for up to 15 participants fortnightly at the Studio, De La Warr Pavilion
  • Workshops will be co-facilitated by the project coordinator, a lead artist/writer & two peer support workers for emotional support. Childcare bursaries or crèche available for mothers with children aged 0-5 depending on participants’ needs.
  • Within the workshops, participants will share experiences in a safe space, focusing on a lifetime of mothering not just pregnancy & birth, exploring expectations vs reality & resultant impact on mental health.
  • Efforts will be made to reach a diverse group of mothers in Hastings & Rother incl. LGBTQIA+, women of colour, bereaved, adoptive, refugee/migrant, disabled/autistic & mothers of disabled children.
  • A series of words and images compiled in a podcast & publication (online & printed) will be showcased at a presentation exploring the project and the work of other artist-mother organisations such as Spilt Milk Gallery, Edinburgh.