Blog by artist/printmaker Dawn Cole
This new series takes its starting point from ideas of value, in both the monetary and emotional sense and has been created in response to a project developed by Platform-7 who I have been collaborating with on Resting Place.
Platform-7’s project Waste.Agency seeks to instigate conversations about an economy built on consumption and wastefulness and although the ideas behind I Shed A Few Tears has its origins in Clarice’s archive this work moves beyond the bounds of the suitcase and questions how society places a value on things and why.
For me the work has associations to childhood memories of receiving cotton hankies printed with nursery rhymes as Christmas gifts, to being taught how to iron by my Mum who allowed me to iron my Dad’s cotton hankies; creating a pile of warm, neatly folded, scented smelling cotton squares that would be lovingly stored away in the dressing table in my parents bedroom and to the lace trimmed cotton hankie that arrived on the morning of my wedding as a good luck token; sent from my Great Aunt Gertrude (Clarice’s sister-in-law) as a good luck token and still kept in my jewellery box 30 years later.
My growing collection of hand embroidered pillowcases and hankies, each one carefully embellished by a previous owner, adding a valued personal touch to an item, maybe to be given as a gift or just to add a sense of self to an otherwise mundane item lacking in any individuality. My interest in Clarice’s archive and the objects within it invoke questions to myself about my own sense of valuing and why some objects take a higher importance than others, why some are kept and treasured and others easily discarded.
In a society based on consumption and wastefulness where we replace items with very little thought I wonder if it has changed how and why we value things.
I Shed a Few Tears: a series of hand printed paper hankies. Printed with letters of the alphabet whose design is taken from an embroidery pattern printed in a french magazine dated 1916. One series simply printed in blue ink and with a simple packaging bearing a lace design using Clarice’s words ‘I shed a few tears’, one of the few entries in her diary that express emotion. An edition of 50 of each letter and selling for £1 each. £1300 if I sell all the tissues.
The second series, the new and improved version, printed with the same blue ink but then gilded with silver leaf – traces of the original – and with improved packaging still bearing the same lace design and which doubles as a certificate of authenticity. An edition of 10 of each letter and selling for £5 each. £1300 if I sell all the tissues.
The third series, still in production and the ‘Ultimate’ version.Each tissue is embossed with the lace design from the original packaging and printed with the same blue ink as the original version and gilded with 23 ct gold leaf. Each tissue presented framed and selling for £25 each. An edition of 2 of each letter. £1300 if I sell all the tissues.