alabamathirteen - Artist blog post
Introducing a new series of artists blogs from selected artists who have taken part in the Restriction exhibition. Our third artist blog is from alabamathirteen, Leeds, West Yorkshire (UK) artist working in embroidery and photography . Alabamathirteen is an emerging, self taught disabled artist. This blog post was funded by the Arts Council England, giving more paid opportunities to artists.
Hi I’m alabamathirteen, a largely self-taught, disabled visual artist based in Leeds, West Yorkshire!
I have always been really interested in Mail Art. I really love small scale art work and, as someone who has been very involved in diy communities throughout my life, I love that it challenges the traditional hierarchy of art institutions with a much more democratic concept of sharing art. So when an artist friend shared the opportunity I was really keen to find out more about both the exhibitions and the Correspondence Collective!
I was particularly impressed with the emphasis that was placed on supporting both emerging and disabled artists, especially as there was no age qualifier in terms of being an emerging artist. As a working class disabled person I don’t think I’m unique in having come to art later in life and having not been able to access a traditional arts education. It is really refreshing to feel encouraged and supported in applying for opportunities when you’re so used to facing barriers!
The theme of Restriction really spoke to me as someone who constantly faces restrictions in my life due to my disability and long term health issues. Most recently I have been shielding and spending all my time in a single room, and socially isolating even from my partner and child who I share my home with.
Restriction has definitely been a theme that has been emerging independently through my work over the past 18 months. The size and scale of the work I produce in my practice has definitely been impacted by and reflected this. I was already working on a very small scale predominantly with old photos and polaroids, and thematically exploring isolation and restriction. However the size of the slots I was allocated in the tray meant I had to work on an even smaller scale as they were too small to fit a regular polaroid, the smallest space measuring just 3 x 4.5cm!
It was a really fun challenge to experiment with my usual materials and explore how I could recreate my work for the exhibition making miniature versions of my polaroid pieces, complete with embroidery using single strands of hair.
I have really enjoyed being a part of the exhibition. Not only was it an excellent opportunity to push the boundaries of my already quite small scale work, but I have got to find lots of new artists to connect with. I’m really excited to see where the Correspondence Collective goes from here too!
Image descriptions - feel free to use in whatever order works best for you:
Image 1: Miniature Polaroid frame templates
Image 2: Work in progress, exploring possible compositions
Image 3: Work in progress, checking placement of final images in frames
Image 4: The final pieces next to a full size Polaroid for comparison
Image 5: The final four pieces submitted to the exhibition