Following an instinct to work with the colour red, recent work has centred around  making female doll figures from  old rags dyed red.  It was interesting to read about the’Red Mother‘ in Clarissa Pinkola Estes book ‘Women who run with the Wolves‘…

Red is the color sacrifice, of rage, of murder, of being tormented and killed. Yet is also the color of vibrant life, dynamic emotion, arousal, eros, and desire.  It is a color that is considered strong medicine for psychic malaise, a color which arouses appetite.  There is throughout the world a figure known as the red mother.  She is not as well known as the black mother or black madonna, but she is the watcher of “things coming through”. She is especially propitiated by those who are about to give birth, for whosoever leaves this world or comes into this world has to pass through her red river.  Red is a promise that a rising up or a borning is soon to come.


Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women who run with the Wolves, Rider 2008 p 99 (first published 1992)

Red is my present psychic medicine – to break out of feelng dull and lifeless.  Red is the colour too for all mothers if feeling sad and blue. Reflect on the colour red and remember the heightened state of vibrant happiness that all mothers feel having just given birth.

My own ‘Red Mothers’ are funny looking, old and shrivelled, or baby faced. They seem to be telling me not to take everything too seriously.  The ‘Red Mother’ archetype is there to protect us and tells us it is fine to be vibrantly alive, emotional, angry, passionate, caring and hungry for dynamic experience.

About Teresa Wilson

Graduated from the Visual Arts BA Hons Programme, Salford School of Art, 2008
Studied History of Art at Manchester University 1986 -1989

Working since 2008 in following areas:-

  • site- responsive installation using uncanny puppet sculpture,
  • artist led workshops fo…Read more

One Response to “The Red Mother”

  1. Helen Sargeant

    “Reflect on the colour red and remember the heightened state of vibrant happiness that all mothers feel having just given birth.” I must remember red, your wise words and your red mothers, when I am feeling lacking, at a loss and low on energy. It would be great to be able to bottle that vibrant energy that its felt after giving birth when holding your baby close for the first time, to be able to carry that through to the now. I would also like to be able to bottle the energy of my four year old and feed it to myself. His energy is boundless.


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