‘The Change will do you good’


By Sue Cathcart


I see the menopause as a time of renewal. There is so much negativity surrounding this natural life transition that I was moved to create this little celebratory icon. I recently watched a TV programme where all the debilitating symptoms of the menopause were listed on a billboard and driven around Brighton, these included hair loss and insanity. I then entered a couple of well know shops where expensive face creams were being sold promising to alleviate some of these symptoms! This reminded me of the Victorian era of bodily repression and fear with patent nostrums sold in gilded bottles. I personally think that the menopause is a marker for a new beginning, a time of sexual freedom, empowerment and reaffirmation. The figure was suggested by 1950’s anatomical models and the ivory statuettes used in ancient china for women to point to when visiting a doctor, so that no examination was necessary. It also references Victorian medical specimens with its glass dome and faded silk. Made from burnished papier mache which gives an ultra smooth ivory texture, the figure is anatomically correct and has a gilded uterus denoting power and strength. (Gilding was done by expert Deby McKnight). I put the figure in a cocoon of reddened paper with pins stabbing through to suggest the state of menstruation which can be painful and bothersome.


Materials: Paper, papier mache, mixed media, silk, 24 carat gold. Measurements: 32cm x 15cm


Artist Bio

Sue has been working in mixed media for 30 years; she works primarily with paper, particularly papier mache and makes collages and 3D pieces. Sue is a self taught practitioner, and would call herself a Folk or Outsider Artist.  Her work is very colourful and ebullient with diverse and found materials combining with the written word to create pieces that tell or are the story. She has taught creative studies for many years before training as a literacy teacher and working as a community tutor, she now works part time for a museum.


Some art requires the observer to have certain knowledge or to be able to discover meaning in the images or forms presented.  The artist guides the observer with technique and colour or by conforming to a certain accepted genre.   Her art requires none of this, the materials are obvious to the eye, they are a mixture of found and paper and paint.  Papier Mache is the medium used and it is the most simplest of crafts, paper and the written word is used to tell a story.    The object is the illustration of the story, the words are usually written on the piece or in the title, the story is told and there is no hidden meaning.  The observer has only to observe and be engaged.  This is Folk Art, colourful and brash with no pretentions, obvious technique, obvious materials and message, full of life!