Subconscious Dwellings: A Solo Show
Today I held my first ever solo art show. I have been working hard on the pieces for this show for the past few months and was full of nerves as we arrived at the gallery to set up.
I had so much support from the girls at Onca. When I arrived Lydia and Maria were getting my window vinyl ready to put up. This design is a lino print I cut by hand and then scanned in and made much larger. The font is my own, hand-drawn type. I was so happy with how it turned out.
Subconscious Dwellings is my personal exploration of our inner minds. We are all unique and therefore it makes sense that our subconscious minds are also unique. Maybe yours is a bit of a circus and you feel that you have to constantly perform to those around you so they don’t see how low you really are. Maybe yours is a safe, sleepy cocoon of a dwelling that you can send yourself into and switch off for a while to cope with everything happening around you.
Each ‘dwelling’ is set up to be a functional, art doll house, whilst also being a unique piece of handmade art.
There were seven Subconscious Dwellings for the show. Here are each of them with their descriptions.
Do things ever feel too big? Like the world around you has grown so large it overwhelms you and you shrink in comparison. Things that once seemed ok suddenly seem scary and daunting. Try to remember all the things you have achieved so far in life. And think about how much bigger and stronger you felt on those days.
Don’t let yourself feel like a mini-beast. Take time to remind yourself of how capable you are and feel that world shrink back down to its real size.
Sometimes life can feel completely overwhelming and it seems as though you’re drowning in your own emotions. Struggling to keep your head above water; desperately paddling to stay on top of it all.
When these waves of anxiety take hold of you, remember you are not alone. You are not weak for having emotions. Let the feelings wash over you. Breath.
Calm yourself and start to list the positive things in your life.
Our brains are full of stories. Each one, when remembered, can evoke a different emotion. But do we sometimes remember things differently? Do once happy memories now make you feel sad? Are you remembering reality or are your feelings clouding it?
It’s time to re-write your story! Fill these books with happy narratives. Think of a sad memory, but only write down the positive parts. Change your history.
Does life feel like one big circus? You feel you need to wear a mask and put on a show so that those around you aren’t made to feel uncomfortable by how low you are. Maybe there are people around you who care and will understand that you are struggling and offer you a shoulder to lean on or a listening ear.
Don’t be afraid to show your feelings. We are all going through things; let’s support each other.
One of the best ways to help heal your subconscious is to actively take time out. Make time just for you. This could be booking in to a spa, or making a massage appointment, getting your hair done or just finding half an hour to have a bath or read a good book. Even if it is simply five minutes to stop and have a cup of your favourite tea.
‘Me time’ is vital to a healthy state of mind. So make sure you are taking care of yourself and finding time to just be.
Emotions can dig in deeply to our subconscious minds; rooting themselves so far down that we struggle to remember what first caused them. If we can’t remember what caused them it can be hard to heal ourselves or find solutions. Don’t be too afraid to confront your feelings. Be brave, face them head on and find a way to resolve them. You are strong and you can do this.
Sometimes life feels too much and your brain starts to make you feel really sleepy. This is a defence mechanism; a way of coping. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or that you’ve failed if you allow yourself to rest for a while. Even if you sleep for longer than anticipated. Your body and brain are trying to heal.
You’ll feel better if you just allow yourself the time to recuperate. They say napping is good for the soul.
The show opened at 3pm and we had a steady flow of visitors all the way through till 10 past 9 when we finally closed the doors. There were many discussions about mental health, some hugs, some emotions and a whole lot of interesting chats with interesting people. My favourite part of the show was seeing which house appealed most to each person as they looked around. Different people were drawn to different houses which is entirely the point of each Dwelling having a different theme. We are individuals and therefore have different responses to the stresses of life.
I was pleased to see adults and children alike interacting with the houses and playing with the furniture.
One of the tiny handmade books became a place for people to leave their own stories. These really made me smile and I was glad that people found the space safe enough to share their feelings in.
One visitor was talking to me about how she liked the idea of peeking through the windows. It made her feel that she could look out at the world from the safety of the Dwelling. I liked this idea and took a few photos to see the world from that view.
We had a few people pop in at 9pm and so the show officially ended at ten past 9. It was an amazing feeling to be able to display my work at this fabulous gallery and it reminded me how lucky I am to have such strong support in my life.
The people that attended the show whether because they’d heard about it before or happened to be walking past on the day were utterly wonderful. So many kind words and positive feedback were shared about the Dwellings and everyone seemed to really understand why I had created them and what they represent for us humans who are so full of emotions.
Thank you so much to all of you who shared photos of the show online. @Kungfutigerlily shared a few photos showing different houses from the event.
@angryhedgehogtoys took some great photos of the gallery and some of the people who came to check out the show.
@elliebolus shared her favourite of the Subconscious Dwellings. She was drawn to the super comfy beds.
@oncanetwork took this lovely photo just after we’d finished setting up and were ready to officially open the show.
@karenunwin2187 showed us a view through a window with her son Hamish.
@quasiamiable liked the Masquerade house.
And @cloeofo shared some lovely words after popping by to see the show. She’s the newest member to the Onca team.