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A few notes on an installation of "Augury: Birds for the Eyes of the Shaman."

 

"This work is a product of my ‘other’ life in Norway, where I spend my time, away from the world, in the studio on the North-facing slope of a mountain where we are surrounded by trees, rocks, birds and animals. Folklore, story traditions and magic symbolism have an abiding fascination for me.

 

In shamanic or magical ritual, augury is a method of foretelling the future by observing bird and animal behaviour.  The Shaman is attended by a set of embroidered creatures that perch precariously on towers of colourful, decorated, domestic tins, once full of foodstuffs from the ‘four corners’ of the world.  The Shaman’s gown, apron and headdress have been re-assembled from collected textile fragments, deconstructed vintage craft projects, old fur collars and printed fabrics, stitched into and machine embroidered.  

 

When the Shaman begins her ritual she calls the spirits of the animals back into their furs and they help her to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ in the ‘other’ world.  I had found a very old photograph of a Shaman, a woman raising a drum and was immediately reminded of Holman Hunt’s painting of The Lady of Shallot, caught at that dramatic moment her mirror cracks and the threads of her tapestry snap and fly out into her chamber and out of the window. The two images are embroidered into and placed next to each other on the gown as skirt and apron.  The raised drum, printed onto cream satin, becomes moon-like and echoes the mirror in the Holman-Hunt image. I created a web of coloured threads about the Shaman image, again mirroring the tangle of threads in the painting."

 

Augury