Lenka Clayton at Fabric Workshop


We – friends (and artists) who were in town for our pal’s baby shower! – decided to hit up the Fabric Workshop last Monday which also happened to be my birthday, a great excuse to take the day off and spend with friends. My hsband and our two year old joined the outing. It was a great day! That baby got to play at a park even though it was quite misty out, running, climbing, opening and closing gates, chattering, swinging on the swing and bringing so much joy. His head is resting on my shoulder, fast asleep, as I write. I am writing and blogging! Baby, art, friends, family, I barely recognize myself lol. I am gently smiling thinking about such things. 

I have been making videos with baby about motherhood, trying to video document our studio adventures together. It’s a way of fitting art time in and spending time getting to know my son better and introduce my art practice and materials to him. His way of exploring introduces new ideas to me about the same. It’s a special time being able to share this with him and learn together. He has really motivated me to get back into the studio so to speak, as he literally insists on going in there to paint or use the camera. Wow I’ve barely had a moment to reflect on this and all I can say is I am filled joy thinking about these interactions and explorations.

So wholly bonanza when we stumbled upon Lenka Clayton’s life size video installation at The Fabric Workshop. In the 3 consecutive short videos, a toddler, who looks about my son’s age, runs some distance measured in yards away from the camera and mom before she sprints after the baby. One setting looked like a rural driveway, one was in a field and the last one I happened to catch on video with my toddler in the foreground was at a supermarket. I can’t remember the exact distances but they were all just beyond my tolerance of how far I could handle letting my baby do the same. It makes you think about how close our toddlers are physically to another care giver, or myself at any given time. And how it falls on us of course to keep them safe. Also the videos were pretty hilarious. Innocent child meandering off exploring the environment around him, and crazy mom sprinting urgently to his side, second guessing allowing him to get so far away in just a few moments. It’s all that matters in those moments. Clearly these were staged given how they were filmed, and you know the baby will be fine, and perhaps even the speed of the run is a performance of an idea about the distance. I wonder if Clayton got permission in the supermarket or just went for it. Even so, out in the everyday you have to be on your guard and ready when minding your toddler. It’s no joke how distance and time are all critical. What an intense experiment and experience.

Then I think of all the small accidents that have happened to my son when he was right next to me…like a bike slowly tipping over onto him, cutting his finger on a beer can and needing stitches, falling out of bed after climbing on laundry on it and hitting his head, etc etc etc