In this piece, Leah Crossley presents extracts from her Motherhood Plan residency as part of Wales Arts Review’s new series, Artists in Residence. Throughout 2017 artists, including Leah Crossley will take a leading creative role in what Wales Arts Review publishes, centring their skills on a challenging project over the course of a month. We were inundated with applications, receiving hundreds of emails about the positions, and it was no easy task whittling down all that talent to this final eleven. Our team of six editors debated long into the night, and in the end, we decided on a collection of people who we most want to work with, and whose work excites us. We think you will be excited by them too.
A mother with an eye for photography. Leah visualises her journalistic entries that explore motherhood, pregnancy and her connection with her child. Crossley is a Cardiff-based, visual artist who graduated from Cardiff School of Arts & Design, Howard Gardens in 2012.
(draft 1) Extracts from my Artist Residency in Motherhood Plan cont…
2. Describe as specifically as possible, anything about your current situation that makes your creative life difficult. Write initial thoughts in the box below then edit to make a prioritised list.
My current situation demands looking differently at how to make time for creating work; how to travel; how to initiate or be part of creative collaborations (at home or abroad); how to maintain a connection with the artistic communities in Cardiff; how to sustain and develop a freelance visual practice, both financially as well as for personal growth. With such a significant proportion of my previous artistic practice being built upon collaboration, discovering what kind of personally conceived and directed work I might make is exciting, unnerving and, as yet, unknown.
I ask myself what will more personal work look like? Does it use the same influences, tools and techniques that have enabled me to document and visually interpret work made for different collective and shared goals? It certainly demands a different type of commitment, accountability, inner strength or independent leadership – to lead my own expression. In the past, I was responsible for myself financially, practically, lazily. I certainly don’t think I was a leader, loud instigator or gentle guide. My time was my own. Time has now become a lot more vital, both in its necessity to get things done and, paradoxically, slow things down. Managing my time requires a lot more considered thought, a maintained balance between organised routines and being present to experience them, and to enjoy my daughter and being a Mother.
If I was ever sure of what kind of artist I was, after my first year in motherhood, I feel even less so – or at least, I feel differently. Fear makes creative life difficult! My studio being unfit for purpose makes creative life difficult! Disturbed sleep makes creative life difficult!
If you enjoyed this piece, take a look at the Motherhood Plan website for more extracts from my Artists Residency in Motherhood Plan.