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trust my intention …

June 21, 2021

Early in the 1950s, at a time when resources were limited, food and clothes had been rationed, make do and mend was still mandatory and before recycling was a buzz word; there was always something to be made. This would go on to be a hobby and ultimately absorbing. One such pastime that I enjoyed was making paper and card dolls to dress.  Using a glossy magazine or a mail order catalogue I would cut out suitable models wearing a bra and a girdle, find some legs, a head and stick them on a card. With a complete mish mash of limbs, the poor girls were never going to be super models. Then I would cut out other garments or design my own with little tags to fixed them on to my paper doll. They became my friends, with names and stories. I kept them in a biscuit tin where my mum would put snippets and off cuts for me to work with as my work became more sophisticated and almost theatrical. 

On the outset this was a playful pastime but in time became a project and a way for me to find comfort in an imagined world away from the harsh reality where my mother was increasingly dependent on my help.

In isolation, 60 years later in March 2020 as spring was approaching and looking towards the rest of my study. In a comfortable home and garden and without my daily commute to college, I still had strong feelings of ‘without’ and bereft. I found myself grieving and motherless.  My parents were unmarried, outsiders and clumsy with love yet encouraged me to find my own path, never let the ‘withoutness’ hinder my journey.   To trust my intention, find materials and tools and maintain a strong sense of autonomy.  

So, while the distorted and muddled feelings began to lessen, I sought a way to use my bag loads of dyed fabric and threads and consider further ways to felt.  Thus far without the girl’s playful air it was clumsy and frustrating.  Furthermore, the artists that had inspired me in the beginning of the course were no longer relevant or helpful. I tried to imagine how the girl might have continued and muster motivation and find away from the quagmire.  Afterall, she was a girl of the river while she could not always navigate her parent’s expectations, she was able find her way along the riverbank and creeks without falling foul of the tide, in time for tea and that is no mean feat.

As child my inspiration came from my mail order catalogues, my weekly comics, glossy magazines and a library of fairy tales and adventure stories then that was fine … now this is slim pickings I needed more. 

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