Embroider the Truth

Blog by artist/printmaker Dawn Cole

The beginning

The beginning of a new project – Resting Place. Although it may well end up being called Embroider the Truth. Only time will tell. I will refer to it as Resting Place for now.

Although this is a new project it really began back in 2008 when i started to transcibe the diary of Clarice Alberta Spratling. Clarice was a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Nurse who volunteered in 1915 and was posted to France where she served for the duration of the First World War. As i was reading the diary i was reminded of some photos i had rescued years earlier. The photos were in an old suitcase that my mother had put ready to go to the tip. I took the suitcase home with me and put it in my attic, with the intention of sorting through it one day. On further inspection of the contents of the suitcase i discovered not only photographs of Clarice in the hospitals in France, along with other nursing staff, doctors and soldiers who were patients but also other documents relating to her life and a notebook containing her handwritten lace patterns, recipes and remedies.

It became apparent that i needed to make some work inspired by this archive in a suitacse and a body of work entitled ‘Reading Between the Lines’ was the result

Clarice, Wimereux, France 1915/16

There is more information about Reading Between the Lines on my website www.dawncole.co.uk

Reading Between the Lines was my response to what was in the archive; without further research beyond. I wanted to make an immediate reponse to what was presented to me. To make connections and assumptions and with the thought that an archive is only as good as the information in it.

Resting Place now takes my work to the next stage; to research beyond the archive and using the archive as the catalyst for the research. This is what this blog will record. My research, ideas, thoughts and decisions based on what i find. Today is the start.

One comment on “The beginning

  1. ourstorykent
    May 11, 2012

    Sounds very intriguing. Like the title ‘Embroider the Truth’, either way, I will follow your progress, and good luck!
    In am enjoying working my way through your other work and there are some great stories there.
    Working with archive material is fascinating, particularly as you are dealing with versions of an original truth. History and truth are not linear, through the stories we tell and the things we leave behind

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This entry was posted on February 24, 2012 by in Uncategorized.


Resting Place is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Supported by Kent County Council

Supported by

In collaboration with Platform-7
All images and content © Dawn Cole 2013
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