When I was asked to contribute to Books of the Unexpected, Roald Dahl’s Matilda immediately sprang to mind. It is the story of a precocious little girl with special powers, who is neglected, overlooked and underestimated by her parents. When they fail to send her to school she teaches herself to read and her world is opened up. You could almost say the books or at least the authors become surrogate parents.
The work is not so much about the story but more about the character and her resilience, self-reliance and determination to learn despite her disadvantageous start.
My original idea was to create an imaginary archive or collection of fabricated objects that could have belonged to Matilda. Each piece was inspired by a particular quote from the book and by objects from the V&A collection.
an object of your own making
An object of your own making. (2013)
Le Petit Batard
Le Petit Bâtard was runner up in the Summer reads Book Art Competition held by Writers Centre Norwich and Turn the Page Artists Book Fair. Artists were asked to make a book in response to one of six 'Summer Reads' books. I chose a (very) short story also taken from Jon McGregor's This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone like You..In just one sentence McGregor gives us a glimpse of a tale about a spreading fire that is both potentially horrifying and slightly comical, conjuring up images of the consequences of playing with matches.
Shades of Grey
Untitled. 2013. Commissioned for BBC's The One Show.
She was taught from the cradle never to cry.
Found book (altered)
‘Life,’ she said ‘is organised around what is hollow.’
Muslin dress, wooden hanger
‘Nothing just vanishes, ‘ she’d read, ‘of everything that disappears there remain traces.’
Compact mirror, found words
Redacted 2012 Altered extract from 'The making and breaking of affectional bonds' John Bowlby
The Story of a Mother
Story of a Mother 2011 Found book 'Hans Anderson Fairy Tales: Story of a Mother', adhesive
Twist. 2011 cotton reel, needle, found book 'English fairy tales: The three bears'
Suture. 2011. Found books, linen thread
An object of my own making.
An object of my own making. 2011 Found book, thread, polyester stuffing