Team Maternal Art
Helen Sargeant – Creative Producer
I am Helen Sargeant, an artist, mother and creative producer living in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. A small market town nestled between the beautiful hills of the Calder Valley. I live with my two sons aged 11 and 18, my beloved cats and partner, working between my home and studio in Hebden Bridge.
I love collaborating with artists positively supporting and encouraging others to value their creative work and to look at ways of making their practice sustainable.
I have been a professional artist for 27 years. My practice is autobiographical, and I work across time based media, drawing, painting, performance, writing and installation. I have a specialist research interest in the maternal subject and mental health. I have taught Fine Art in Higher and Further Education. My practice has included working together with artists, gallery and creative professionals, parents, babies, children, young people, older people, performers, writers, poets, academics, midwives, doulas and health care practitioners.
I am a member of the DAW artists collective, have had my work published in books, journals and magazines and exhibited within the UK and abroad. I have delivered and written short courses and workshops about the representation of pregnancy, birth and the transition to motherhood. I worked with Clare Harbottle an independent midwife based in Leeds on her project The Nativity Hub and most recently I produced a downloadable workshop for Laura Godfrey Isaacs award winning Arts Council funded Maternal Journal Project.
I enjoy collaborating with others, including my own family which has included taking part in residencies to Tampere in Finland M(other) & Son (2016), funded by the Arts Council and to the Mothership in Dorset Play Away (2017) which was self funded through selling some of my artwork. I also took part in my own residency in motherhood, M(other)s Stories (2015), where I kept a journal in the form of a blog, posting visual and text based work every day for a year. I set up MeWe an arts collective about mothering and creativity in 2012, and in 2014, I produced The Egg, The Womb, The Head and The Moon, an on-line interdisciplinary arts project about the maternal. I have worked as a consultant and delivered artists talks in galleries and at international conferences such as Motherhood and Creative Practice at the South Bank University in 2015.
I lived for 3 years on the site of a derelict hospital at Brockhall Village, Lancashire with 30 other artists. Here I worked as a life model in eduction and ran arts workshops and life drawing classes myself to fund my painting practice. At Brockhall, I met Micheal Mayhew, a performance artist and we were awarded funding through the Arts Council; to create work together in response to the site where we were living and another hospital in Lancashire that was also in the process of being shut down, demolished and turned into a luxury housing estate.
These days I juggle arts practice with caring for cats, children, a garden as well as cooking up new ideas and creative projects such as this labour of love…… Maternal Art.
Jo Parker – Production Assistant
I’m Jo Parker, a multi-disciplinary artist, MA student and mother of three grown up children and am also a grandmother of one, living and studying in Bolton. My art practice was kickstarted again once my children had grown and left home, as being a mother in the 80’s and 90’s and attempting to continue with creativity tended to come in fits and starts, with much of my creative output being around activities with my children and the odd commission here and there.
Returning to art education as a mature student was such a liberating and validating experience compared to my experience of attending art college as a teenager in the early 80’s. Coming back to formal art education with a lifetime of experience gave me a wealth or resources and lived experience to tap into that I didn’t have when I was a teenager, and for one of my modules, worked collaboratively (with my then four year old grandson) on a deadpan photographic project which looked at comparative perspectives in relation to the varying fields of vision between adult and child.
With a background in counselling, my interests lie in the human condition. I am currently heavily focussed upon issues concerning feminist ageing, a highly underrepresented area within feminism and feminist art, looking at the psychological and sociological impact that ageing has on women within contemporary society.
My involvement with Maternal Art began when I won a publishing prize via university. I am currently working as Production Assistant helping to support, develop and maintain this project and enabling it to work towards producing Issue Two of Maternal Art Magazine, which is a challenging and rewarding role and a fantastic experience.