Internal Examination Collection // The Hidden Collection
Showing some of the Internal Examination Collection at the Cluster Craft Fair 7th – 10th July 2022
Internal Examination Three, 2022, Stoneware, 22.5×18.5×20.5cm
Internal Examination Four, 2022, Stoneware, 23×17.5x15cm
Material is at the centre of Kayleigh’s practice and her work seeks to take back the power of material as a woman. Through making with clay, she emphasises the connection to the earth and life. The vessel is synonymous with the body and ceramics and through exploration of abstracted, non-functional ceramic forms she connects her personal experience of functional issues with her body.
Describing her work as ‘an act of quiet activism’, she seeks to encourage conversation and engagement around the taboo subject of hidden illnesses of the uterus. She does this through the paradigm of craft, with reflective autobiographical making. The aim of her work; to encourage visibility and the fight for better research within the medical industry.
After a 15-year battle Kayleigh was diagnosed with Adenomyosis; a disease where the uterus lining grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. This disease is poorly researched, with little treatments available and chronic pain. Frustratingly difficult to diagnose, but sometimes detected by ultrasound. Scans of Adenomyosis reveal dark holes, these seemingly tiny holes can cause pain more acute than labour. Having had three children, she has experienced this level of pain. Kayleigh’s work draws on her ultrasound imagery in the use of evocative circular forms piped in black clay. Through this act of repetition, she embeds her thoughts and feeling of this experience. The circle has become a semeiotic for these struggles within her work. Not alone in her struggles with menstrual health, Kayleigh’s work asks for social change in order to better understand it.
In the UK 1 in 5 women have hysterectomies a year and Kayleigh asks would this be necessary with more research? Is this really the solution? Having recently undergone a hysterectomy in the hope of a better quality of life Kayleigh hopes by highlighting this issue and with proper funding, can this statistic change?
Kayleigh’s artistic journey asks what it means to be a woman, to inhabit that space through the object and to empower a sense of self. She does this by liberating herself from a set style of working and explores (all kinds of ceramic and craft processes) multimedia as material. Through the interplay of the techniques of hand building, throwing, piping and extruding the clay, she’s able to narrate her personal experiences. Kayleigh’s expertise in glaze technology is utilised in her defective glazes where she deliberately creates imperfections on the surface of her ceramic vessels. In the act of reveal through display, taking what is hidden becomes the surface, finding the beauty in the difficult.
Working at Stoneware temperatures within her firing process deliberately results in imbalanced recipes, emphasising the retraction of the glaze from the surface to great effect. Leaving a tactile textured surface, these provide great contrast to the smooth glazed surfaces which is becoming a signature look of her work. Through these objects Kayleigh finds ways to see inside the vessel by cutting away sections making the inside as important as the outside. Putting form before function, her visual language connects the idea of reducing the body to a shape. Playing with the contrast of colour she exaggerates the colours found in and on her body.
Intersectional feminism is an undercurrent of Kayleigh’s practice it’s important for her to express that not all who struggle with how their body functions is a woman. For Kayleigh, gynaecological health has become part of her identity and has defined who she has become. Within her Internal Examination Collection, she speaks to that experience. However, within her Hidden Collection she moves to unite people in their battles. These small vessels, that can be held in the hand, and stand up like people, have their individuality and their uniqueness. Yet together they are a collective. We all face hidden battles, but battles with the body are the hardest. Finding connections with objects is a humanistic quality and Kayleigh uses this to unite people through their struggles. In seeking common ground to stand on, whilst knowing we are all unique, but allowing those with hidden struggles to bring the issues to the surface there can unity. Demanding social change through craft.
The Hidden Collection will be available over on the Cluster Crafts Online Shop and here. This is a limited series of vessels. Shop Opens on the 8th July 2022.