I thought it would be roses offers an opportunity to examine personal reflections of womanhood. Having been raised on the stories of love often found in fairy tales, it began with me wanting to speak with women about their sexual narratives. With a desire to understand firsthand their experiences and to facilitate a more open dialogue that gives us permission to talk about gender and sexuality this collaboration began. It aims to expose the bias apparent in the taboos and societal untruths surrounding female sexuality while discussing the greater ‘collective consciousness’. Through tapping into this collective experience, the installation aims to interrogate a gendered sense of self or identity and how this is connected to a woman’s sexuality. The work explores experiences felt and not always acknowledged.

The love letters give the participating women right of reply. They draw attention to narratives and experiences that are often ignored or skewered in the mainstream conscious. The sharing of knowledge is incredibly important to this project in which stories are shared. This has been further emphasised by bringing together a further group of women to sew the letters. The fabric speaks to the veils we must wear and gives body to the experiences we embody yet never fully showing who we are. I thought it would be roses pays reference to the history of women’s fibre art and the stories we have told through cloth for generations. The needles left in some of the work act as a final stroke of defiance; her weapon of choice.

In part it was my mother, Margaret, who was the catalyst for undertaking this project; she has lived these women’s stories.

 I acknowledged the women who shared with me, the women who sewed with me and the women whose support I rely on. 

The aim of the installation is to create a space which brings all elements together in order to give the women a voice. It also allows the viewer an opportunity to connect with the work in an intimate and controlled setting. Projected on the wall, the slowed video of my mother sewing the letters is a silent soundtrack to the reading. My mother, Margaret, in a sense is the matriarch that has already lived these lives, and so, a video of her sewing plays in the background. Collaboration and process has been so incredibly important to this project and this needs to be seen in the final install. The collaboration is shown as the needle and thread used by the sewing group to embroider the love letters will be left in the fabric as a signature. The work has been installed with both a mirror and a box. With the original installation process is prevalent as when the viewer enters the gallery space they will be met with a single hanging embroidered letter with a mirror placed, off set, behind it. The mirror is representative of the process, displaying the mess behind the sewn words. This letter is mine. It is me joining arms with the women and taking the first bullet so to speak.. The mirror aimed to not only reveal the process of ‘making’ but to also reflect the viewer reading the work. The sharing of knowledge is incredibly important in this project in which stories are shared. This has been further emphasised by bringing together a group of women to sew the letters. This symbolises the sharing of knowledge between women. The second installation reflected this. The participates found the process a cathartic one. For some, they carried the burden of an experience they never wanted. The viewer was given an opportunity to also share, they were invited to pen their own ‘love’ letter to continue the work. The box works only to receive letters. Unable to retrieve them it holds the stories for them. 

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