“Little Inklings at Craobh Rua” is a collaborative project between AAEX and the Craobh Rua Community Centre, Dundalk, which aims to enhance the creative playfulness, overall wellbeing and relational bonding between infants and their caregivers through collaboration and participation in a series of 8 creative art workshops (April – June 2020) with professional artists from AAEX Jennifer Slater, Susan Farrelly, Caoimhe O’Dwyer and Úna Curley.

The main objectives focus on the delivery of a sophisticated art experience for this vulnerable group in society; babies and their mothers, who may both be feeling the normal stresses and strains of early care giving scenarios. It is also estimated that postnatal depression exists at about 28% in Ireland in urban areas, yet is considered to be greatly underreported due to stigma, societal pressures and cultural myths around motherhood. Exploring themes of mothering and reciprocity through creative play, mark-making, mirroring, repetition, matching and mis-matching via the production of monoprints, printed textiles, textile sculptures, photo graphics, drawings and poems presented in ‘art keepsake box’ and mini-world installations, inspired by the assemblage boxes of artist Joseph Cornell. A self-taught artist, Cornell relied almost exclusively on found materials. He collected items from books, newspapers, second-hand stores, exploratory walks — even sweepings from his studio floor. As a group we would hope to try out some of Cornell’s’ ideas, alongside ideas from our own art-practices involving found objects, drawing, textile art, walking and writing.

Weekly Plan (open to modifications)

Session 1

  • Getting to know each other. Meeting mums and babies, play and exploratory art-making session. Creating the art environment, soft play with textile art and sound to engage the senses.

Session 2

  • Exploring our senses through soft play, noticing and looking together at our art environment. Making marks, sounds and noticing games together, documented through photography and poetry.

Session 3

  • Intro to journaling and ‘keepsake’ box making. Pointers for gathering objects and noticing each other with photography and play. Shoe collection and print demo.

Session 4

  • Sculptural Art Walk in the Garden: Exploring art in the everyday, going walking and making messy prints outdoors.

Session 5

  • Taking babies hand and footprints. Expansion of personal keepsake ideas through drawing collage and mono-printing. Collating and putting together our art memory display boxes.

Session 6

  • Creative writing and photography in our art environments, exploring our senses in our ‘mini-world’ creations together. Adding to our display boxes.

Session 7

  • Completion of Assemblages and preparation for ending celebration

Session 8

  • Public celebration and exhibition at Craobh Rua. Details will be announced here.

The project is kindly supported by

CI_Logo_2020        louth coco

Photo: Getting acquainted at Craobh Rua featuring Labyrinth mat, digitally printed drawing by Susan Farrelly, 2020