The egg, Making a Nest, 2014, hair, earth, glue, pencil on egg shell


womb                                       head

the womb, My Daughter’s Womb, 2010, monoprint                the head, A Nest of Empty Boxes, 2008, monoprint



and the moon. Guided by the Moon, 2012, photograph


When Helen first launched this project, the first thing that struck me was the title – I love the title. ‘The egg, the womb, the head and the moon’ are all recurring motifs in my art. I thought – 42 weeks ago (!) – that I wanted to contribute a post consisting of four works, one representing each motif. Of course, time ran away with me and here I am now, posting in the final week of an entire pregnancy! I knew that I had already exiting pieces that I wanted to stand as ‘womb’ and ‘moon’, but I had hoped to make brand new work as both the ‘egg’ and the ‘head’. I didn’t manage a new ‘head’ piece, and instead include an old self-portrait called A Nest of Empty Boxes. The portrait was drawn in 2008 – when the idea of having children had started to creep into my body and into my unconscious – and it inspired the title and content of my PhD, which was completed three years later.

I have however, managed to make a brand new ‘egg’ work especially for this project. The work is called Making a Nest, and finally illustrates the birth of an idea conceived shortly after the birth of my son, so probably sometime in early 2013. How can it take me over a year to realise an idea? My art works seem to be produced like children these days, with two-year gaps between them! This is not exactly true, I do make lots of little works in-between times, but there seems to be an annual turn around for the work that I consider to be significant.

The nest is made out of a combination of my hair and my husband’s hair. Winstan’s hair has been mixed with earth from the garden to create a base while mine lines both the inside and the outside of the nest. The two eggs have been laid by our chicken who lives in the garden; the eggs have then been blown and I have drawn my children’s newborn faces on them. The nest is seen here, placed in our apple tree.

My Daughter’s Womb was made in the months following Frida’s birth. I was struck soon after she was born by the idea that she had a tiny womb inside her, and that she too could give birth one day. Guided by the Moon is a partner piece to My Sun. Both works show me heavily pregnant with my belly covered in silver and gold leaf respectively. The ‘sun’ portrait was taken on a bright September morning in 2012, and the moon image, the following October, on the night of a full moon. Bruno was then born on a full moon in November, exactly a month to the day that the photograph was taken.

Thank you Helen, for conceiving ‘the egg, the womb, the head and the moon’, and for carrying her. I wish you good luck for the birth.

About Rebecca Baillie

Dr. Rebecca Baillie is an art historian who has always practiced as an artist alongside conducting research and writing. Awarded a PhD in 2012, her academic specialism lies in the study of melancholia, surrealism and its legacies, and the maternal body in visual culture. In her artwork she uses p…Read more


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One Response to “the egg, the womb, the head and the moon”

  1. Frances Earnshaw

    Yes! That thought struck me, too. There is a tiny womb, already creating eggs…

    The nest is a beautiful idea.

    Wonderful post.


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