Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2011

Degree Name

MFA (Master of Fine Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Rude, Mat B

First Committee Member

McGuire, Steve

Second Committee Member

Barbuzza, Isabel

Third Committee Member

Hettsmansperger, Sue

Fourth Committee Member

White, Susan


I had dreamed of being a mother for some time. These dreams were complete with expectations of how and when I would give birth, and what motherhood would look and feel like. Now that I am a mother, I realize that my projected expectations in light of my true experience provide a conflicting story. While adjusting to reality has not always been easy, the experiences in unknown territory have brought beauty, joy, sadness, pride, and love in ways I never imagined.

I believe that the only way to fully grasp the intensity of the experience of motherhood is to actually live through it. In this sense, the significance of documenting the motherhood experience is to capture the emotions and the reality of being a mother. I hope to put images to the continual conversation, conflict, and emotional battle that wages inside of me.

I feel driven to document this experience not only to preserve these feelings for my own sake, but also to shed light on what I see as a misperception of motherhood. My experience with motherhood as subject matter for my artwork has led me to feel a sense of judgment; that to talk about motherhood in a fine art context is almost by nature taboo. I find this strange, as certainly we all have, or have had mothers. I hope to question this perceived negativity in the discussion of this relationship. I also desire to give those who share my feelings regarding motherhood a voice; to be confident in their experience, their love for their children, and to celebrate the common, yet extraordinary role of being a mother.


Ceramics, Cloth Diapers, Feminist Theory, Motherhood, Parenting, Potty Training


vi, 31 pages


Copyright 2011 Heidi McKay Casto

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