Who’s caring for you? (Ongoing work in progress 2020-2023)

In 2020 I recruited a small group of NHS staff, working in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, to take part in a project exploring the ways that they take care of their wellbeing. Using creative tasks such as zine-making and photography, each participant took the time to reflect on the meaning of care and compiled images of the things in their lives that support their wellbeing on a day-to-day basis. I have been working on responses to their photographs throughout the third year of my MA in Multi-Disciplinary printmaking. 

Each person was asked to describe something that they would like to shrink down and carry with them for comfort and I created an individual artwork in response to each of their suggestions. Inspired by votive objects, totems and charms, I produced a series of ceramic objects which are intended to ground the holder during challenging moments. They are intimate pieces centred on touch, they could be held discreetly in a pocket and the shape and glazing provides different textures to focus the attention on. The making process supported my own wellbeing during lockdown and handling and shaping the clay was a therapeutic and absorbing activity. The objects symbolise the essence of the project: care and capture the story of their creation and the relationship with their function and between artist and recipient. 

In addition to these ceramic objects, I made an illustrated handkerchief for each participant inspired by the item that they chose to shrink down. A selection of the designs are shown above; some were screen printed, others linocut and hand printed and some digitally printed.

Further works will be updated as completed.

All Images © Emma Brown 2010-23