I am a visual artist whose practice is based on ideas of protection and defence particularly in domestic and maternal territories. My work encompasses drawing, performance, photography and sculptural work in metal, textile and paper.
This piece was made in an effort to explore the need to protect the unprotect-able. Apprehension has been part of my parenting experience. Small hands have soft, slippery skin that slides easily away. At the beginning of pregnancy the weight of responsibility comes with the realization that protection and security are an illusion and really the only weapons are hope and luck.
This is an amulet to ward off drowning. I come from an island country and the ferry is the cheapest way home. I have recurrent dreams. It is chaos and night. The ship is going down and I fear the children being ripped from my hands. I stuff the baby down my clothes, buttoning, zipping, fastening him to me so he will not be lost. The toddler, I tie my arm to his arm, afraid his tiny hand will slip from mine in the melee. The ship falls from under us and we plunge in to the sea. I will only have two children. We live by the sea. I can only keep two children afloat.
Islanders are superstitious. Children born with a caul are friends of the mermaids. Their caul means they will never drown. My children are not caulbearers so I must make an amulet to evoke its power.
Caul and Infant Survival Set are part of a larger body of work which explores the nature of protection and defence in mothering.
Rachel Fallon’s work has been exhibited in the UK and Europe. She is also a founding member of Outpost Studios; an independent artist run studio in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, and a member of the mother artist collectives Desperate Artwives and MeWe Art.