Laura James Wray

© Laura James Wray, 'Bound and Controlled', 2009,

Laura James Wray (UK, Cornwall)
Bound and Controlled (2011)
Slip cast white earthenware, smoke fired and bound with rubber inner bungy cord


Twenty five weeks pregnant, my first experience of crowning was a cruel and brutal introduction to motherhood. Hollow and discarded, my feelings of emptiness and shock were so strong, along with the total lack of control I had over the birth. The empty, damaged vessels in this work, symbolic of the uterus, reflect my experience.

The inspiration for my work also comes directly from a deep interest in Birth Art and my examination of the void that is present in our contemporary art world. Representing birth in art seems fraught with anticipations of uncomfortable and unsuitable subject matter. Gender issues heavily influence the visual content of Birth Art, creating issues of control and reserving observation on a scientific level. Only recently did women start to regain control over the birth experience and began to discuss and visually express birth as a valid art subject. However, the subject is still interwoven with social boundaries and taboos.

The narrative of my work is further explored by working through digital technology and creating highly controlled pieces through casting, thereby reflecting upon and emphasising related issues of control and recognition of this most powerful experience of birth that binds all women at this crowning moment. The capsule of time where pregnancy ends and motherhood begins is portrayed through the ceramic vessels: some are split, some are torn, but all are bound in unity.

Laura James Wray has a BA in contemporary crafts from Falmouth University (2011).