I have been thinking about the folk doll and what it might mean. These are the first few watercolour experiments. In many ways they are a continuation of my preoccupation with the woman’s body or perhaps more specifically my own body and identity. I have made Musical Instrument body, and Feather Body and in Celestial Navigation a Moth Body undergoing metamorphosis and in Morveren a submerged and entangled Mer-Bodied female. Even in the earlier work around folk tales like Carriage the girl’s body is indistinguishable from the carriage and horse that carry her, her body inseparable from her fate. In the Materials works the pattern motif itself was a body, an identity turned into fabric and pattern.
I am not sure where these are going exactly and probably I will make quite a few more including perhaps some head ones, inspired by masks and hair as extensions and transformations of body and self. The folk doll in culture will need a lot of research – the folk doll is often symbolic and used to teach young girls how to behave, how to ‘be a woman’ in some way. Carved dolls, corn dolls, cloth dolls, fertility dolls, dolls celebrating a culture’s traditional dress and identity.
Some of these are bodies of cloth, of vines or basket weaving, the lamia or snake bodied woman of myths, the calligraphic body made of lines and movement, the body that is a skein of silk or a body of transparent glass with perceptions moving within, or perhaps carved from wood.
For some time I have been preoccupied with the body or self that is in a state of constant flux or tension, in a kind of anguish of transformation. A woman or body turning into what her hands make perhaps or what her mind imagines or what the world around her expects or sees.