Melanie Jordan Kent, United Kingdom
I trained and worked as a primary teacher early on in my career, before motherhood took over and I took time to raise my family. I returned to work as a teaching assistant and supply teacher part time, before I took the plunge and embarked on an access course in art and design. I haven't looked back since, gaining a BA, followed by an MA in Fine Art, and I am at present continuing my research.
Melanie Jordan has a textural, haptic practice with thread-based hand crafts at its core. Such slow repetitive activities allow for reflective thought, being absorbing almost to the point of monotony. It is as though the boredom is a precursor to creativity. The process of making is embedded in Melanie’s work, and for her is as important as the outcome.
Melanie’s artwork pays attention to maternal ambivalence; the tension between the need to nurture, and feelings of entrapment in motherhood. Her work is informed by her personal perspective of being a mother of an adult with a learning disability, where the mother-child relationship becomes stuck in a dependent phase. Despite caring very much for her adult child, and wanting to support him through his journey to become a more independent adult, for such a mother there is an inner longing for a loosening of these ongoing maternal ties. A longing that is often accompanied by a sense of shame.
For Melanie the placenta is the root of the connection between a mother and child. This umbilical connection is physically severed at birth, but in truth this is really the beginning of the unpicking of the paradoxical tensions of motherhood. The process of stitching is equally contradictory, piecing through the fabric to create and repair. Melanie has been stitching soft umbilical scissors, that aptly sum up the ambivalence of wanting to nurture, but being trapped by an ongoing maternal role.