as i mentioned ealier, i’ve made this from an old book for the biblio art award 2013, organised by blarney books and artmaybe the hardest part of the whole process was writing my artist statement
after much head-scratching, this is what i came up with –
‘Agatha’s Wardrobe’ represents the hopes and dreams of a young woman from the 1800’s as she prepares for her wedding: the shy delight she feels as she chooses her trousseau; the stitching of precious silks and laces for her ‘hope chest’ or ‘glory box’ (probably begun while she was still a child); the anticipation as she tries on her wedding dress; the mystery and uncertainty of love and its passions; the solemnity of the marriage vows.
Love makes us vulnerable to pain, as Agatha discovers. I experience this with her as I read the book and create this artwork. I feel her pain as she faces loss, betrayal, isolation, and a deep despair which almost drives her to suicide. Ultimately, love triumphs, but not before it almost destroys both her and her husband.
There are 12 dresses in the box – one for each month of the year. Each dress has a swing label attached to it; each label features a phrase from the traditional marriage vows.
I added a key to the box lid as both a symbolic and practical embellishment – ‘the key to my heart’; the key which makes precious items secure; the key which keeps things private.
Safety pins and buttons – again, both practical and symbolic. Hand crocheted lace, vintage (torn) silk, stitching – everything is given a hidden meaning beyond their intrinsic beauty and structure.
Things hinted at and not always explained. Materials and skills which women have implemented through the ages.
In transforming the original book into something beyond the printed word, I hope that ‘Agatha’s Wardrobe’ touches the hearts of everyone who sees and absorbs what it has become.