Following the death of my mother after a short but intense illness in August 2016, my life irrevocably changed. I became the counsellor’s phrase: “an adult orphan”.
In order to channel my grief creatively, I threw myself into making work; this was my coping response. In answer to an open call from Temple Bar Gallery & Studios for a curated section of artist books in the Dublin Art Book Fair, I had the idea that I could combine my relatively new re-interest in printmaking with my skills in bookbinding. Through a course I had been taking, I found myself giving woodblock demonstrations at the Irish Museum of Modern Art the previous February. I hadn’t done much printmaking work for years, and I had so enjoyed the woodblock printing that I knew that I was going to love a further re-exploration of print media.
In November 2016, five copies of each of my books were included on the curated table of the Dublin Art Book Fair. To me, this opportunity provided a quiet memorial to my mother.
I am not religious yet I am not atheist. I believe in humanity as an entity of good, despite so much evidence to the contrary. There is much suffering both on a global and a personal level. But I have encountered kindness in strangers, selflessness in friends, willingness to share and care in unexpected places. These experiences allow me to fly. I keep faith with the unknown. Although I mourn, the best way for me to honour my mother’s spirit is to celebrate it through my artmaking. This helps me to remain unwaveringly hopeful.