Unravelling the Manor House, 2010

Each of the interventions I developed at Preston Manor, Brighton drew on previous ways of working but in a new and responsive way that employs craft processes. I used materials and processes that revealed and unraveled aspects of the Manor house and the people who have lived in it.

Other was originally created as an installation and placed within a room, which had previously been used for séances. Other at first appears to be cushions but these have been altered to give the suggestion of morphing into an animal.

Elsewhere a series of fabric creatures are partially formed, like temporary domestic vessels for inviting spirits. They are evocative symbols of past pets that provide a link with the Pet’s Cemetery in the grounds of the former Manor House. Other had been partially inspired by a past visit to Nigeria, West Africa, and the use of spirit effigies there, but also drew on the paranormal activity within the house.

In the maid’s bedroom I attempted to reference the secretive world of collecting; gathering simple flowers to create a subtle fantasy world of escape for the maid. Day Dreaming offers a counterpoint and a connection to the meagre simplicity of the servant’s quarters. Responding to the decor of the room which over-looks part of the gardens, it works as a canopy emerging from the flowered wallpaper. The flowers are sewn together to create an enveloping installation that has evolved from the maid’s hobby of collecting and drying flowers. Sewing, making and mending become metaphors for a desire for change and will reference existing themes on display in the maid’s room.

The restrained formality and undertones of class and segregation are played out by the use of peacock feathers stitched together to create an unusual but opulent dress/cloak for the lady of the manor.