Visual Artist Claire Hickey is the woman behind the Richborough Estate Prize winning art work GRAVIDUS I and GRAVIDUS II. A mould-making process of two sculpture pieces.

The work in GRAVIDUS represents the physical aspects of her own pregnancy and the internal and external processes and feelings that were happening throughout. Cleverly,”Gravidus means pregnant in Latin, but could also mean, heavy, burdened or teeming. Claire realised her work became more meaningful and rich as her own pregnancy became embedded in the making.

Claire has been practising for six years. She’s tutored adults and toddlers, nurturing their creativity in diverse settings and has recently completed her MA at The School of Art in Birmingham, in the beginning of her career her main material was clay. She preferred creating hand sized models, exploring the kinds of material that made people want to touch and investigate her creations.

gravidus blog

During her progress, she moved away from clay and started to look into other techniques such as casting and mould making and how her body could engage with the making process; It became interesting to her, how she could use her own forces to push into a material and create a certain form.
As her work and her pregnancy progressed, it was as if the mould was representing her and her body, how she felt as an artist approaching motherhood. Claire wondered how she would continue her artistry with the demands of mothering her child.
“I realised that the mould was kind of representing me and my body and also how I felt as an artist, the fact that I was going to become a mother and that I wanted to carry on as an artist, I was becoming strong in the feeling that after I had my baby I was still going to be an artist”

Two mirror-image concrete blocks is the second sculpture piece which she named GRAVIDUS II, both with internal forms that you can see through a “pour hole”. This came to represent an umbilical connection between the interior form and the external structure, comparable to a mother and her baby.
Claire is fascinated by how much impact her pregnancy had through energy and inspiration within her work.

gravidus II

“When seven months pregnant, I created a plaster block 50×50, which was incredible heavy, I got heavier also my art did”
Claire became incredibly productive and for five months she worked more than full time on her art. All the emotions she felt got imprinted in her work.

The confusion and fear she felt in the beginning of her pregnancy became a source of strength despite the difficult birth of her child. She had gained a new artistic identity which, like creating anything, is a process with different phases and outcomes, this is something Claire wishes to go back to and explore more.

“I want to go through my work and research on the different stages I went through and continue on my project, maybe create GRAVIDUS III”

See more of Claire's Work