Dormancy, Northlight Gallery, Orkney 2019
noun: the state of having normal physical functions suspended or slowed down for a period of time; deep sleep.
I like the word dormancy. The word suggests a time of rest, a period of suspension of the normal. I spent a period of dormancy when I nursed my father. He had a severe stroke that left him paralysed, able to speak, but not to move unaided. This suspension of time lasted for six years for him and myself, drawn together in a strange reliance. A truly difficult time and yet it was during this period that I returned to my artwork, something to do to while away the long hours of sitting. First working with textiles and drawing, then printmaking and finally enamelling. Creative moments and explorations grasped at short intervals between the role of carer.
I started to swim in a lake near an artist residency, although ‘swim’ may be too generous a word. I floated on the surface on my back, staring at the sky, blocking sounds by keeping my ears just below the surface. This suspension was when I had my greatest creative moments, my mind slowed and I was fully present.
I imagined that there followed a quickening of energy, a creative spurt as one emerges from dormancy. While I grieved the loss of my father, my life was subtlety changing, I adjusted, developed and re-emerged. I continued printmaking and creating enamel work, learning and developing techniques, emerging from dormancy slowly.
I travelled with my father to Orkney twenty-five years ago, spending a wonderful few days on the island. The work in this exhibition is therefore dedicated to the memory of my father and wild water swimming.
I would like to thank Roscommon County Council and Cary Welling for making this exhibition possible.