The Maternal Stratum exhibition is one of the outcomes of the Develop Your Creative Practice grant I was awarded by Arts Council England, to research alternative printing processes which may allow me to begin working towards establishing a more sustainable and environmentally engaged creative practice. Throughout this research, situated in the landscape of my childhood and where I currently live with my own children, I have been primarily drawn to photography and its endless opportunities to play with light and surface, time and place, harnessing an alchemy of light-processing materials found within this environment. Along with making inks from plants, excavating clay from reservoirs, coal and ochre from local mines, I have also tried to confront the ubiquitous plastic spaces from the often inescapable toxic, consumerist culture that my children are exposed to. I view this work as the result of a practice embedded in where I dwell: a place of historical significance pertaining to the industrial revolution and subsequent ecological crisis. The alternative photographic processes I have been learning - such as soil chromatography, cyanotype and anthotype - serve as receptors for reconnecting with this landscape of the Anthropocene, both above and below the surface. The different works on display are fragments of newly discovered encounters with materials and entanglements within my immediate surroundings, sometimes transforming these into traces of voids that may appear. By illuminating this sense of loss that I experience with my children, my work hopes to open up a maternal dialogue about, what the Nigerian poet and writer Bayo Akomolafe describes as, becoming a 'citizen of grief' in the world.

This proiect and exhibition has been made possible through the DYCP grant awarded by Arts Council England. I would like to express gratitude to The Art House for their ongoing support, and the staff at The National Coal Mining Museum for valuable archive access and coal/ochre contributions.

'Long Blue Mine', 2023

cyanotype on cotton rag

Soil Blooms (Denby Dale)', 2023

13 soil chromatograms

'Monsterland', 2023

video, 7:47 mins

'Monsterland'  installed with booklet containing text from video

'Meniscus (pond series)', 2023

6 lumen prints

'Thirty Days at Home (Denby Dale, Jan-Feb)', 2023

cyanotypes on recycled paper

'The Shape of the Space Between My Hand and Yours', 2023

fired foraged clay (Ingbirchworth reservoir), iron-oxide nodule 

'Children’s Make Up Set', 2023

plaster, rust, verdigris from copper scourer, mirror

'Unicorn Popper Toy', 2023

plaster, rust, verdigris from copper scourer, mirror

'Friends of the Anthropocene', 2023

installation of cyanotypes, anthotypes  & relief sculptures

Cyanotype toned with wine and coffee, 2023

Cyanotype on cotton rag, 2023

Cyanotype toned with oak cap ink, 2023

Anthotype (turmeric) of dandelion leaves on paper, 2023

Cyanotype toned with coffee, 2023

Cyanotype on recycled paper, 2023

Anthotype (turmeric) on cotton rag, 2023

'Looking Up From The Wishing Well', 2023

video, 04:59min

iPad, coal (National Coal Mining Museum) 

Mistresses of May (horsetail series), 2023

1/4 lumen prints

Lumen print, detail

​'Toy Packaging', 2023 plaster, rust, verdigris from copper scourer

Anthotype (turmeric) washed with soda on cotton rag, 2023

Cyanotype on hosho, 2023

Digital photograph, 2023

'Lady Grey (viaduct series)', 2023

cyanotypes on cotton rag, toned with tea

Lumen print (dandelion and horsetail) 2023

© Clare Carter
Using Format