Trousseau & Stain

TROUSSEA P1040219Trousseau is a collection of antique linens, stitch and a census-style document in a vintage laundry box, and it is a family portrait of sorts that follows my attempt to track down my long lost family.

My mother died when I was young and, with her, any connection to her side of the family – I am embarrassed to say I didn’t even know my grandmother’s name.

I had no photos, no documents, no mementoes.

My search revealed sad tales of recurring loss, hardship and broken connections. Most of my women ancestors – all laundresses, char women and maids – were dead, widowed or institutionalised while still in their 30s.

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These were strong, resilient women and I have told their stories through hand stitching – women’s work, manual labour.

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It was a privilege to sit and spend time with them as I stitched and I hope I have inherited some of their strength and character.

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Stain attempts to communicate with my lost grandmother through shadow puppetry and childish rhyme.  I have used domestic substances to create these pieces including bleach, tea, fire grate polish and iron burn – they are volatile and unknown quantities which are liable to fade.

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These are challenging subjects to tackle but this is my family, my story and all these works were made with love.

‘Unsettling, superbly-crafted work that is intensely personal, at the same time unearthing an atmospheric sense of “otherness” that will resonate with many people.’ Sadie Lee, Artist

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