Limits by Laura Segan - An Exhibition Exploring Mental Heath and Creativity.
Laura Segan (b. 1987, Coventry) is a visual artist, working primarily in textiles and photography. She lives and works in Devon. Her artwork focuses on the connection between mental health and creativity, the exploration of the traditional crafts as modern fine art and manipulation of the traditional photographic image. Her fibre art and photographic work both carry narratives around connection with nature, exploration of self, mental health and creativity, narratives and life stories. Laura received her BA in Fine Art Photography from Camberwell College of Art and Design in 2009 and more recently, her MA in Art Psychotherapy from the University of South Wales. She splits her time between her art practice and her Art Psychotherapy work, where she works with children and young people who are struggling with their mental health. She has been making artwork since her time at Camberwell, while travelling and teaching. More recently since moving back to live in the UK full-time, she has exhibited in Wales and England.
I am a visual artist who explores emotions and memories through art making. I use a variety of materials, depending on the subject matter or feeling of a particular project. My artistic practice is shaped by my dual roles of artist and art psychotherapist. I initially studied photography and discovered the therapeutic nature of weaving during my training to become a therapist. I split my time during the week equally between making art and my therapy practice.
Making art has been a necessity during the more challenging times in my life. I find the feeling of being completely absorbed in making to be extremely reassuring. For this project, which is ongoing, I am exploring how I use art making as a way of processing emotions and working through challenging times, something which I encourage others to do in my art therapy work. This project explores the limits we all have, what happens when something pushes
those limits, and how living through a pandemic has changed us all. LIMITS – is an experiment in letting go. To make ‘LIMITS’ I lay a metal hoop onto a piece of cotton, and fill the hoop with acrylic paint. The hoop is a vessel, an attempt to contain the multitude of daily tasks and emotions I am juggling. I then introduce ink and water and slowly pour it into the hoop. The ink finds paths through the paint, Flows gently like a river. For a while, the hoop contains the ink; for a while we can sustain extreme pressure and stress. For a while. And then it flows. The ink bursts the banks of the hoop and flows through onto the cotton. The process of making these pieces is cathartic, and I feel a relief as the ink flows. The ink creates something beautiful. Everything is OK. ‘LIMITS’ is a reflection of my desire to control situations that are often outside my control, and the peace that arrives with accepting that things will flow. I stitch the gold thread onto the circle after the ink has dried. The slow embroidery stitching reflects the things that bring us joy, the things that hold us together.
The smaller framed pieces in this exhibition are ‘PUSH/PULL’, an exploration of limits and boundaries. They are a mixture of punch needle and painted pieces, each one representing a different moment of resilience and strength. All of the artwork in this exhibition reflects the importance of creativity for my own wellbeing, and I hope that the viewers of the work may take a moment to connect/reconnect with something creative that they want to do. After a very challenging couple of years, it is more important than ever to connect with creativity, wherever possible. I hope that this invitation to explore my process may encourage others to do the same.