If you are unfamiliar with Máire Fisher and her novel "Birdseye" see a review in the link below. A story of a family living in a very familiar False Bay setting, from the view point of Bird, a young girl.
Máire immediately had a vision of writing into the doll's house when she first saw it. I think the idea of a writing workshop with so many details to draw from is truly inspired and I cant wait to read stories conceived from the viewpoint of others.
The idea ties in exactly with my own urge to collaborate with others on stories. Over the past months, I have loved seeing how different people react to the house. It evokes something in everyone. A grown man confessed to fond memories of playing in a dolls house as a child, a child asked me "what is a dining room?" an American visitor to my studio and I cried in each others arms.
I have added a new character to the house that I will reveal in a further post. A character that invites a whole new conversation. A very Southern African one. A version of this character lives in Máire's novel too, an important person in little Bird's life, as is true for many South African children past and present. The Maid. The other woman, the other mother in our white homes. A woman with a secret life and longings children don't wonder about in their possession of this woman.
Stay tuned for pictures of her, I made her as beautiful as I could, as these women are.
Back to the point though! If you have ever wanted to write, or are already writing, consider spending a magical morning with Máire and the dolls house in the setting of an Art Exhibition. You will be surrounded by art above and beyond the doll's house itself, including work from 2 other artists. Certainly, there will be enough visual stimulation to inspire novels.
Residency Show, 5th April to 12th April 2018 (note: date change)
Please save the date to visit our group residency show from April 5th to April 12th at Greatmore Art studios, Woodstock, Cape Town. Im hoping to be announcing other little happenings in connection with this show during this period, so stay tuned!
You are also invited to the opening on the 5th April at 6pm. I hope to see some of my people there!
After almost 18 months of making my dolls house, its finally no longer this thing in my head, what a relief not only for myself but for those around me to see what I've been aiming for...I've had a lot of head tilting puzzlement to contend with. Not helped by my mumbled explanation because I really didn't know what I was doing either. So now, here it is, this massive creation that happened.
Its been really interesting to witness how people respond to it. The most recurring reaction is this natural tendency to "dream into" it. This term "dreaming into" is something I heard from my friend Dain Peters, a practicing psychotherapist.
I have been aware of the therapeutic aspect of a dolls house my whole life, having lived in my own as a child. So this lovely phrase resonated for me. Of course, this is exactly what we do in play, this dreaming and enacting. (I had a giggle watching this grown man bending arms and legs of the mother doll, wanting to find a natural position for her to sit, This, his first time "playing" with a doll of any kind. "She looks too stern!" he says, tilting her head a little.)
He told me of a Doctor J.L. Moreno who came up with the concept of psycho drama. A practice that has been used for individuals as well as entire communities to understand and process trauma or conflict. The concept involves role play, story telling, and witness. This allows the protagonist to step back and view their own story from all sides. To analyse actions, thoughts and choices connected to an event or a problem.
Is this not what a dolls house allows also?
Our conversation led on to to all the details and layers in our lives and homes, these things that when represented in a dolls house allows the illusion of a reality. We dreamed together about the personal life this woman in the house may have, and the glaring absence of a male figure...because I haven't made one...yet.
The image of a bunch of letters tied with ribbon came up. Personal things; letters, jewelry, papers.
A treasure box in the house, things you wont or cant immediately see. What a sweet layer that would be .
The idea of course stuck and manifested in a little video complete with historical background and appropriate sound track. But there is a problem...I broke the law! of copyright that is. Due to the music the video was rejected by both Facebook and Instagram. so disappointing!
After hours of researching this rather dry subject I have managed a compromise. I have uploaded this video to YouTube and they have allowed it but with restrictions. Be warned, the video may not work on all devices, probably not on a cell phone or ipad but may work fine on a laptop or desktop PC. Also, it may be riddled with adverts. Ce La Vie. At least it remains as I intended.
The song in question is a sweet and poignant one, originally written for a screen play in 1945, it was put on the map later by Ketty Lester who sang it in a gospel style for the first time and gave it a whole new lease on life. This is the version I chose. It has been covered by so many others; Elvis, Tom Jones, Allison Moyet and many more in between and since.
The love letters themselves were written by famous people. Some surprising and some we all know about, like Beethoven's "immortal beloved" The copied letters (including Beethoven's) were written by Burt Reynolds, Winston Churchill , Zelda Fitzgerald, Henry Ford, Johnny Cash and Jimmy Hendrix. What a motley crew.
I hope you manage to view my offering and enjoy it. I know! its very sentimental but very much speaks to my own life and mood.
The love letters
Painter and Sculptor