There are 18 posts in this diary.

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Around the kitchen table

Posted by Helen Knowles Posted: Thu 19th Apr, 17:07:26

Ping and Ina May

Many hours were spent talking around the table, over cups of tea we discussed how the Farm came into being and the kind of philosophy which guides Ina May and the other midwives there.

In this photograph Ping and Ina May look at an image of a footling breach birth.

Images from The Farm and an exert from my diary.

Posted by Helen Knowles Posted: Thu 19th Apr, 16:21:43

6th - 9th April 2007

Last night, at a moments notice, we jumped in the car along roads where deer were foraging back to Pamela's house. Pamela is Ina May's partner whom she has worked with since the beginning. Pulling up outside a wooden house, we first stepped through an outhouse straight into the heart of a kitchen scattered with Amish rocking chairs and comfortable sofas. Around a large table sat 5 student midwives, ready for Ina May's lesson.

Ina May was giving a teaching to the student midwives about how to be with a labouring woman. She fluctuates from looking frail on occasion to frighteningly confident. At one point, Ina May grabbed what she called a birthing stick and begun swinging and gyrating off it. She is actually a very tall woman and flexible in her body. Ping sat towards the edge of the room, taking it all in.

At the end of the of the session we asked one of the students who still had breastmilk, if she minded being filmed squirting her milk for a small film Ina May wanted to make for UTube, 'A Squirt video'. She agreed amongst lots of giggling. Ping got her camera and both her and Ina May stood poised, as this woman began firing breastmilk across the room. When she swung round to aim it at the cameras, Ping almost shrank in horror. Then we all burst into fits of laughter.

Thats what I love about Ping working with Ina May, there is a cultural gap which allows for the shedding of preconceptions.

9th April 07

This morning Ping and I walked out in the Orchard. We wandered through the apple trees in the stark white sunshine. She sang Chinese love songs and I recorded her and then she told me about her own birth.

Ina May is a great talker. She can really tell a yarn and she told me that when a woman is labouring with her she often tells stories which she believes can inspire and influence the woman to keep going and progress. She is full to the brim with energy, when I asked her how she possibly had so much energy she said,

"when you get a taste of the way you can change things , it spurs you on, it is addictive."

Podcast interview between Ina May Gaskin, Ping Qiu and Helen Knowles

Posted by Helen Knowles Posted: Tue 17th Apr, 20:52:26

A Third Planet Report on 8th April 2007 with Alan Stuart Graf for The Farm radio station.

Finally back from spending a week at The Farm, Tennessee, with Ping and Ina May. Over the next few days I will be uploading interviews and recordings from my time there and writing a few words about my experience in America.

The following interview was recorded as a Third Planet Report.

Thoughts on Thursday

Posted by Ina May Gaskin Posted: Sat 7th Apr, 04:41:04

It's exciting having Ping and Helen around. Ping's a good cook, so that is very pleasant. She met my friend Bernice Davidson this afternoon, and we'll be going over to Bernice's house tomorrow. Bernice, like Ping, has a big imagination and is also an artist. In fact, she made the cover for my first book, "Spiritual Midwifery" (first published in 1975), so you can see how far back we go. I've been knowing for quite a while that we will need the help of artists to teach women in the modern world why they don't have to be afraid of their bodies.

My collaboration partner

Posted by Ping Qiu Posted: Sat 7th Apr, 00:09:14

I am very pleased that the curator, Helen found a working partner for the collaboration, Ina May Gaskin. Now I spend one month with her at The Farm, summertown in Tennessee. Now she is teaching me English and we talk alot about the womans body. I get alot of knowledge about the woman. I am surprised that she has so much energy. She tells me her experiences of how she attends women in childbirth. It is a good chance for me to learn a lot of things here.

I hope through my experience here, to get some new idea about life and the inspiration for my artwork and that I can transform my feeling into art.

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