Talking About the Objects

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Just talking about them does something to the way I handle them.

I have knitted a vest for Hans, the doll without a hand, or rather, the hand resides elsewhere…

It had to be done. Also, his head had to be mended with brown paper. The nursery rhyme ringing in my ears. I didn’t use vinegar… but somewhere in the depths of my brain there is a thread to be researched into the connection between the plastic used to make these old dolls, and acetone…

I have no idea why, other than I am compelled to do so.

He now sits proudly on top of the pile of newly-covered chairs, a soft blanket surface to take the impression of his hard, cold, plastic body.

I have made marks on these objects: lines of stitching using threads garnered from other garments; the brown paper had been written on with white ink; the knitted stitches are wobbly and uneven because I have unravelled something previously started and abandoned; the key motif, used on other things stitched with unbleached coarse linen threads; the keys that inspired it hang on the studio wall; alongside a crumpled brown paper drawing of the shirt from which the threads were pulled; a linen dress, embroidered by a different hand, has been ostentatiously repaired with the patch from a different garment, whose threads have also been used on the unworn coat… and so it moves on…

The material links are clear, I have even noted an unusually muted colour palette (for me). The limited material choices are part of this family too.

The methodology is also connected: crumpling, reusing, unravelling, repairing… adding another mark…

But I am cautious about going too far…“avoid tautology!” says the echo of Henry Rogers repeatedly in my ear… trouble is, if you don’t know what you are saying, how do you avoid saying it twice? And there are other ways of speaking… words are insufficient perhaps…

So I cradle Hans in my arms, smooth the surface of the child’s chair and gently prop him on it. The movements are signifiers too. But what is being signified?

Probably that I’m an old bat that talks to dolls and pigeons and needs to get out more.

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