Emma James



Title: Unconscious Expression of my Post Natal Depression (PND), (EJ 2017)

Media: Hand painted cotton, using a wax resist (Batik) with stitching

Dimensions: 43 cm x 50 cm (W x H)


This artwork was created whilst recovering from PND and studying an Art Therapies Course. I used a technique called ‘Surrealist Automatism’ which is used to activate the unconscious mind to visually represent what is felt by the individual.

By clearing my mind, closing my eyes and putting pen to paper I drew with only my feelings, with no thoughts of how the final image should look like. After scribbling for a bit and when I felt ‘finished’, I reflected on the scribble of lines. Turning it in every direction, I could see with amazement an image of a baby, swaddled and held in the juggling arms of a mother. Teardrops were present, one small for the baby and one large for the mother. Thereafter, I transferred the image into the artwork presented.

I believe the image was of my son and I, soon after his birth. I struggled to bond with him as I was physically ill after his birth. Although in recovery, when I created the artwork, it was still an experience of raw emotions for me.

I have since re-used the ‘Surrealist Automatism’ technique and am often surprised by what images come through and their relevance to my life.


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