Inspiration for the constructions comes from a variety of sources; many are literary, some are based on myths or legends, most have local connections and a few come from personal history. Rituals and beliefs play a part in the process and some were formed while working through a number of ideas.
An example of this would be the piece called ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream/ Changeling’. This paper sculpture brings together thoughts about the loss of youth. My own experience of watching my children grow though infancy throws into focus the notion of time passing. That phase of youth and development is short lived. No one can stop the process of change.
When I started to think about this construction, I was experiencing and realising the passing of this precious time. I wanted to create a piece which reflected the delicate and transient nature of the moment. At that time, we were also being bombarded every day in our newspapers and on radio and television with information about the abduction of Madeleine McCann. The image of the innocent girl made me think of the dilemma facing the parents during their heightened loss. Each parent faces the loss of their child as they change and grow but the crime and pain suffered by these parents turns this into a tragedy.
A few months into working on this piece I was fortunate enough to see a production at Stratford of A Midsummer Nights Dream. As the play began we saw how Oberon and Titania were arguing about who should keep the stolen child / a changeling and this brought to mind the stories of the ‘Tylwyth Teg’, the fairy people, who stole perfect children and replaced them with monstrous little folk. This Welsh myth had been in my mind and here was an example used in a classical play. Realising that Shakespeare used all sorts of references in his work, especially regarding folk lore and country stories, I was inspired to create the piece using the text. I searched for old copies of the play and used the printed words to make a papier mache child out of the script.
The pushchair is made of willow and tissue paper and the whole piece is incredibly light, as though is could just float away. I wanted it to be exhibited hanging off the ground so as to suggest flight or the spirit lifting. It has to look as though it is moving upwards and into another space. The child hovers away from the delicate wheeled seat and disappears into another time and another place.