M.A.M.A. Issue n.51 - Clara Aldén

Procreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 51st edition of this scholarly discourse. Literature intersects with art to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the academic, the para-academic, the digital and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA #artandmotherhood

Feb 2022: Art and words by Clara Aldén

The Mother of Frankenstein’s Monster, 2021

The Mother of Frankenstein’s Monster (2021) researches the production of bodies and identities in relation to motherhood. ” My children were produced by and within my body”. Production continues after birth: children’s bodies grow and their identities develop. The identity of the mother is also born in relation to the child’s birth. This inquiry revolves around the idea of maternal “split subjectivity” and the child as an “unruly descendant” of the mother. It researches the conjunction of symbiosis and struggles present within a mother-child relationship.

The project includes an audio essay intended to be listened to at home. Listen to it while you are doing the dishes, or picking up toys from the living room floor. It departs from Mary Shelley’s famous novel Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus (1818) and invites the listener to reflect upon maternal aspects present within their own lives, within their own homes.

Link to audio essay (10:24min) here.



Are you familiar with the story about Frankenstein’s monster?

Direct your gaze upon your child, and listen to this:

Dr Frankenstein was just a student when he started the creation of his creature. He struggled for two years to conceive his baby; stealing bones from graveyards, and intestines from slaughterhouses and autopsies. To create human life was his greatest ambition.

Yet, when the creature opened his eyes the only thing Dr Frankenstein felt was fear.

Why was he frightened?

I think he could sense that he had lost control over his creation.

Have you ever felt that you have lost control over your creations?

I imagine that Doctor Frankenstein didn’t understand what he was getting himself into when he conceived his baby.

My children were materialized out of a moment of loss of control. We lost control for a second and they started existing. The first time it happened I wasn’t aware of it for several weeks. The second time I immediately felt a new presence within my body.

“The idea of two people occupying one body is bizarre and disturbing. And yet, we all began life inside the body of another human being—immersed in a systemic interchange, absorbing both nutrients from the maternal body and hormonal derivatives of her emotions, while pumping out refuse through her bodily orifices.“

My pregnancy felt parasitic. I struggled my entire life to become autonomous, and now I was slowly dividing into two. My body swelled and grew. Inside my body grew the body of another.

My insides were suddenly someone else’s outsides and I bumped my stomach on tables as I tried to navigate this universe.

“As I lean over in my chair to tie my shoe, I am surprised by the graze of this hard belly on my thigh. I do not anticipate my body touching itself, for my habits retain the old sense of my boundaries. In the ambiguity of bodily touch, I feel myself being touched and touching simultaneously, both on my knee and my belly. The belly is other since I did not expect it there, but since I feel the touch upon it, it is me.”

It is impossible to physically tell if a pregnant person is one or two people.

The subject of the pregnant is split.

Do you recognize the sensation of your mind being two places at once?

How many creatures do you have within your care?

Look around you: we’ve already established that there are children within your care. But apart from that? Any pets? Or old parents that need care? Any plants that need water? How many things would not survive if you just got up and walked away?

Like Dr Frankenstein did.

During pregnancy a body is created. But a person is not just a body. Dr Frankenstein created a body but abandoned it immediately after birth. He got scared and ran away. His monster was left to care for himself. He wandered around trying to find company, but everywhere he turned he got violently rejected. The only thing he craved was love and affection. When he realized that this was something he would never obtain, he turned to his creator:

“Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall be virtuous.”

My children are neither monsters nor fallen angels. But they are my unruly descendants.

Physically detached from me. Free to roam the world. It is impossible to understand where I end and they begin.

Look at your baby: think about the complexity of bones, arteries and blood cells, nerves that exist under their skin. Imagine the universe that inhabits their minds.

For the longest time I wasn’t able to face my children. I looked at them but did not see them. I was afraid that if I did, truly look at them, they would be pulled away from me like Eurydice was from Orpheus when he couldn’t keep himself from looking back at her on their way back up from the underworld.

I tried to make a drawing of my eldest, when he was just a couple of weeks old and realized that from now on, everything I produce, with hands, mind, voice, would stand in the shadow of the creativity of my womb.

Nothing could ever compete with these creations.

These creations also made it perfectly clear that they demanded my total focus and attention. No time for other artifacts.

What happens when the needs and wishes of your creations collide with your own?

Frankenstein’s monster started out as an idéa that grew into an obsession and then into a body. The movements of this newborn body revealed a free will, detached from the intentions of its creator.

“Sometimes words trigger off cataclysms, sometimes acts, sometimes physical conditions.“

The monster followed in the footsteps of his creator. But somewhere during this race across the globe the roles were shifted; the antagonist became the protagonist, and the creator started chasing his creation.

Text with full reference list can be found here.

More about Clara

Clara Aldén (b.1988) is a Swedish artist working and living in Gothenburg. She holds a BFA from Bergen Art Academy (UIB, NO) and a MFA from HDK-Valand (GU, SE), where she graduated in 2021. Her work has been displayed in Västerbottens Museum (SE), Göteborgs Konsthall (SE), Index (SE) and Bergen Kunsthall (NO) to name a few.

Clara works with sculpture, drawing and text-based art. Her work is situated within the private sphere, and she employs her immediate surroundings to research general societal structures. Since becoming a mother her work has mainly focused on domestic and maternal thematics. Within Clara’s artistic research, motherhood is considered a practice and not a state of being. Likewise, this practice is not considered to be limited by biological bounds. She is inspired by Donna Haraway’s thoughts on kin-making, and even if the maternal interest grew out of her biological motherhood, her thoughts and research stretch away from the immediate biological connotations and wishes to explore the practice of maternity in the expanded notion. The notion of care, regarding interruption and control loss as a positive force, and trying to work in a relational and non-autonomous manner are examples of maternal aspects important within her work.

M.A.M.A. Issue n.50 - Martha Joy Rose and Helen Hiebert

Procreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 50th edition of this scholarly discourse. Literature intersects with art to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the academic, the para-academic, the digital and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA #artandmotherhood

Dec 2021: Art by Helen Hiebert words by Martha Joy Rose and

The Mother Tree

I want to write about mothers and trees. Roots and families. Art and love.

Last year our world appeared to be on fire. Headlines captured devastating events around the globe. From politics to pandemics, the news cycle, as well as our personal lives, were upended in so many ways. In the midst of one of many California blazes, a story about a redwood matriarch dubbed the Mother of the Forest in Santa Cruz, California caught my attention.

Mother of the Forest is one of the tallest trees in Santa Cruz Park. A symbolic womb at her core forms an 8 x 13 foot room, or a hobbit hole, or a sacred space — depending on your perspective.

I have become obsessed with trees.

Trees are a testimony to patience and resilience. They offer shelter, contribute to healthy ecosystems, and fight climate change. Redwoods protect and support each other as well as other sapling growth by creating family circles sprouted from the roots of a parent tree. These families may or may not be genetically related. These lessons in cooperation can be a metaphor for humanity in its current fragmented state.


One month ago, I headed back to the MOM Art Annex in Florida after a prolonged absence. Ready to explore the next steps with our community and see to the ongoing growth of the Museum project, I arrived energized. Rising in the midst of display artifacts, art, and birthing objects, a new exhibit towers in the heart of the Annex. Artist Helen Hiebert’s Mother Tree is a brilliant illuminated sculpture made of paper and thread on loan to us for the year.

In preparation for the Mother Tree’s arrival, I pursued the book Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard, a deeply inspiring tale of scientific discovery and maternal care. I pondered our new directions with the Museum of Motherhood and gladly welcomed a guest artist residency proposal by Polly Wood, which included constructing an empty nest as a ceremonial acknowledgement of her daughter going off to college.

“A nest,” I exclaimed. “How timely for the Mother Tree’s arrival.”

Polly and I spent a glorious two weeks spinning magic. A blog about her residency is online at MOM. The next guest artist arrives in mid-December with work featuring among other things, landscapes and trees in gorgeous muted watercolors.

As the year winds down, I gratefully acknowledge the manner in which I’ve been able to spend time with emerging mother artists here in St. Petersburg, and also family as well. My son, his wife, and their baby have been on-site for the last six weeks, crowded into the MOM Art Annex’s tiny space– along with the exhibits, myself, and visiting guests. My one-year old granddaughter crawls around the carefully childproofed perimeter while I proudly chase after her.

In these accompanying photos, I introduce my granddaughter to a world of female sheroes, the art of motherhood, and a variety of messages aimed at empowering women and girls. The images for this MAMA exhibit also include my own self-portrait surrounded by the Mother Tree’s yarn roots in a symbolic gesture of rebirth, renewal, and generational connection.

Every major tree metaphor reminds me to trust in the slow, yet, steady growth of the museum project. Good things take time. Like a redwood, we want the museum to stand as a testament to the ages. We want to collaborate with our community and our surroundings. These things develop and deepen slowly. We are the connection. We are the women. We are the love. We are the trees.

If you would like to donate to our Mother Tree acquisitions campaign, please consider helping us purchase the Mother Tree in perpetuity by making a tax-deductible donation here.

In gratitude and perseverance, Martha Joy Rose

More about Martha and Helen

Martha Joy Rose: Martha Joy Rose is a community organizer and Museum of Motherhood founder. Her work has been published across blogs and academic journals and she has performed with her band Housewives On Prozac around the world. She is the NOW-NYC recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Award, her Mamapalooza Festival Series has been recognized as “Best in Girl-Power Events”, and her music has appeared on the Billboard Top 100 Dance Charts. She founded the Museum of Motherhood in 2003, created the Motherhood Foundation 501c3 non-profit in 2005, saw it flourish in NYC from 2011-2014, and then pop up at several academic institutions. After teaching Mother Studies at the college level, she moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. Her current live/workspace is devoted to the exploration of mother-labor & performance art while she oversees the continued growth of the Museum of Motherhood project.

Helen Hiebert: Helen Hiebert constructs installations, films, artists’ books and works in paper using handmade paper as her primary medium. Her sculpture Mother Tree serves as a symbol of the vulnerability, strength and sense of community she feels as a mother. The seven-foot tall handmade paper dress/tree features single strands of thread which extend from the bodice of the dress, representing mother’s milk, and cascade to the floor, transforming via crochet into roots which pile up, filling the surrounding space as a tree’s roots would fill the ground beneath it. The transformation from dress to tree and root to soil symbolizes the mother as a provider and nurturer throughout human development. Since her inception, hundreds of people have contributed to crocheting roots with messages of family, friendship, and affirmation.

M.A.M.A. Issue n.49 - Thatiana Cardoso and Lisa DeSiro

Procreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 49th edition of this scholarly discourse. Literature intersects with art to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the academic, the para-academic, the digital and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA #artandmotherhood

Oct 2021: Art by Thatiana Cardoso words by Lisa DeSiro

Art by Thatiana Cardoso

The images show the artist´s intentionality of constructing images that confuse the visual perception of the viewer. In the images, household items suggest parts of the human body. For the artist, object and human are in symbolic equivalence. Her photographic work aims to problematise the object as a living entity and investigate the way in which the viewer’s organism responds to these images.

Since 2013, I have explored the tension between strangeness and familiarity of everyday objects through photography, video, performance, and drawing. I investigate the approximations between the body and domestic utensils, showing the similarity with the human body. In my artwork, objects breath, pulsate, and are tortured. The process of torturing household items speaks of veiled, symbolic violence in relation to women. My early research focused on some of the unusual aspects of the living objects, and on the intentionality of constructing images that confuse the visual perception of the viewer. I investigate deception as a poetic resource to create images that ask the viewer to be part of this aesthetic experience.

Words by Lisa DeSiro


At the top step above the family room my mother appears, floating in mid-air, as if seated on an invisible chair. What she’s telling me is important. But her head is covered by a dark cloth, her face hidden. Please take that off, it’s distracting. No. She doesn’t have permission.

More about Lisa:

Lisa DeSiro is the author of Simple as a Sonnet (Kelsay Books, 2021), Labor (Nixes Mate Books, 2018), and Grief Dreams (White Knuckle Press, 2017). Her poetry has been widely published in anthologies and journals, nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and set to music by several composers. Lisa is also an accomplished pianist and founder/host of the Solidarity Salon performance series. Read more about her at thepoetpianist.com.