Margaret Joan MacIsaac is based in North Uist and is reaching out to carers of people living with dementia to have a look at her thoughts on mark making, identity and connection. If this resonates with you in any way, please get in touch with her, or any member of the team and we can provide materials free of charge and whatever you need to start whatever comes from this. Paula
Making our Mark
Margaret Joan MacIsaac
A mark to describe our existence be it photographs or letters, helps create an umbilical between us, the past and the future. Looking through a box of shabby old photographs I realised I tended to take photographs more of animals than humans, blurry seagulls, proud cockerels, lambs, cows, a goat and a multitude of cats and dogs that describe my story.
We can consider other expressions as making our mark as well, knitting, weaving, even baking and cooking , creating from raw elements with tools and relevant supports. Loving and nurture are mark making too, creating positive brain chemistry and brain development.
To be a carer can be hard, loss of identity can occur. To be addressed as a carer instead of a Child of, a Mother of, a Father of, changes how we identify ourselves, our social parameters are changed. Many emotions experienced can be unexpected and can be distressing.
To have an object we can go to that we can work with at those times might be of help, to create a meditative place with repetitive action. It could be a tile of soft lino that we can carve periodically or a simple collagraph that we can carve or add objects to with simple PVA glue mix. This action could be of benefit to sooth and calm, maybe help create a new identity; it can be a diary of emotion without having to express that emotion in words. It can be figurative or a build up of abstract marks.
This type of print development does not require a lot of expensive tools and we can create it with others or on our own. Sometimes it’s hard to get respite to go to a regular class, but we can use phone or email to share problems, questions or just photographs of the development of our piece. This relationship building is important in other aspects as well and can continue for other reasons and benefits.
We could work towards a day or a couple of days in the Print Workshop and the opportunity to learn new skills; we can emboss or use inks to print our developed plate. If this is difficult we can individually use simple hand rolling methods to create beautiful prints.
Through this time relationships are being built, new ways of making our way through our lives are being explored. Building new aspects of our identity.