Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Developing an idea and finding it has wings

I love it when my brain gets fired up with a new idea. I'm presently paddling in the very fertile waters of imagination, research and art, a great place to be. It's hard holding all the elements in my head at once - so not much sleep - but words and picture ideas are pouring out and I've pressed them into a project book like wild flowers, like butterflies. (I would never press real butterflies into a book, but idea butterflies are fair game. Anyway, they still get away, they refused to be limited by the thin range of words I have to play with. They are the flat ghosts of butterflies). 

I'm at a crossroads with ideas at the moment, looking for studio space in my head and maybe for real. The house is TOO SMALL to contain all the work and the living and the kids and cats and furniture. I need an overspill space, and I'm looking for somewhere else. It's that or turf Russell's beloved car out of the vast and top-lit garage and convert it.  Not his first choice.

I've been looking at research about Lorina Bulwer, This has sparked a renewed interest in patchwork - the letters are embroidered into patched fabrics, although it's not clear where she got them from. Maybe her pre-workhouse wardrobe. 

I've been looking at the text itself, and wondering whether anyone has ever tried to use a grounded theory analysis approach to it, or whether it is seen as entirely within the arts and as a medical artefact. From my brief look at it (having not studied grounded theory for a gazillion years) I can already pull out themes, just reading it every day for a few days. Fascinating stuff, and those themes could inform the book. 

I also came across a fascinating document by Elizabeth Parker, a servant girl raped and beaten by her employer, driven to the edge of suicide then taken in by a kinder woman. She wrote about her life in an amazingly complex cross stitch piece. This was from 1830, another group of women with no voice crying out in the only way acceptable to others. Samplers and stitching were used to demonstrate domestic skills and 'a proper disposition', as well as teaching a range of stitches. This one seems purely cathartic. 

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