Young Parents workshops, Salford

Artist's Book



Helen Knowles worked with mono-prints made by the young mothers which she screenprinted at Hotbed Press in Salford. These images were their responses to their experiences and expressions of their perceptions of childbirth.

Helen found a book written by Jane Sharp, a midwife in the 17th centuary, who described the female and male reproductive body, conception, sex and childbirth. Her descriptions of the body are explicit, beautiful and sexually open. Helen used these texts to contrast with the mothers descriptions they have for the body.


The book is now displayed alongside the two from the other workshops series in the final art exhibition thanks to help given us by  MMU Special Collections (Artists' Books).





Detail of artist's book, 'Cocks Comb'







Detail of artist's book, 'Cocks Comb'






Detail of artist's book.














Exploring the body

On one of the workshop days, we had an idea to find out the language the girls used for their bodies.  We did this by getting two of the mothers to lie down on a large sheet of paper, while another person drew around them . We  asked them to write in one of the outlines, graffiti-style, the names, words and language they used to describe the different parts of the body. Then we asked them to fill in the other outline with all the medical terms they knew. In fact they didn't know many of the terms doctors and midwives commonly use when discussing childbirth with pregnant women and so they leafed through a pile of childbirth guides and wrote up any anatomical terms they came across.




Medical terminology