12 August 1999
Wow! I've just been looking and absorbing some of your writing/ work/ thoughts. For someone who thinks in pictures and forms l find words limiting, but l'm game to a challenge. We seem to be opposites in many ways, Tim likes to use the word complementary. Even so we do still have a lot in common. l believe this collaboration will stretch me and challenge me in many ways l've never even thought about. l am very much a hands-on person, l love clay and texture, forms and shapes, feeling and feeling. l like to relook at myths and assumptions, and question them. At college l made a barbed-wire wedding dress, but then didn't have the nerve to wear it. l don't like my myths, assumptions and prejudices questioned, but l know like medicine it may taste nasty but it'll do me good. I am always wanting to learn, to understand more. I am a little set in my ways, and although frightened, am looking forward to having a good shake-up. I want to tell you about myself but l feel trapped in stereotype labels so here goes. I'm 45, skinny, ageing hippy, sensitive ( l think it sounds better than neurotic), artistic, intolerant, argumentative, often tired and limited by my own fears. In many ways my life is both shallow and boring, but l am aware of, and far capable of more. I have read quite a few feminist writers who have sent my mind reeling, l really enjoyed Women that run with the Wolves and find a great need to howl. l now read Terry Pratchett, for sheer escapism.
l also have a background within the Christian tradition, but became frustrated and angry that l wasn't accepted and appeared to have no role, because l was a woman. My ex worked in the church as an evangelist, and l towed the line for 10 years. When he walked out l began to grow, question, and find other women like myself who didn't fit the mould. Others intoduced me into the concept of a female deity, history books showed me forms, gave me stories. Women writers gave me inspiration and hope. l did my Art degree as a mature student, read up on goddesses and visited museums in search of them. l found the Britsh Museum very limited, but enjoyed the search, seeing many hidden references. Although from south-east London, l relate to the celtic part of me greatly. My father is/was Irish and l grew up in a strong Irish community, which has made me very anti the Church of Rome, and its male power. It's difficult to be angry but not be prejudiced, l have a lot to learn. My theology is now of the pick-and-mix variety, which can be a cop-out sometimes.
For my final years work at college l looked at the myths and roles of St Mary and Eve, the saint and the whore sterotypes. This ended with me producing bowls with clitorises (shown in picture) and a falling life-size figure made from photo-copied transpariences. l enjoyed visiting Liverpool Cathedral, a lovely place, and especially enjoyed the shop with its plastic madonna and plastic iconography. l made moulds from pieces bought and used them in my work. l often work with bought images, dolls and statues, changing and joining them with other objects.
Well enough about me, where do we go from here? You appear to be so self-sufficient and confident that l'm not quite sure where I fit in. I also looked at the booklet on Mount Grace and found certain ideas, images, and thoughts that may be of interest to you. I have already visited the site, but will again and send you images. l was also interested in the aspect of time, evolution, change. Looking at the humble beginnings, with words like piety and poverty, to the growth of industry and wealth. I found it quiet interesting to see that the priory had a prison, was it a prison within a prison? or is the priory not a prison but a place of freedom. I suppose it's one's attitude. Pictures in the booklet showed arches, doorways, windows, maybe they are to see out/in/to other worlds/other times/other realities. I was also interested in the springhouse and of course the remains of the kiln. From what I remember of my visit it was very bleak (it was a very grey day), green grass covers much of the ground, a wood at the back, and stark buildings eerie and sad. The priory has a large weasel population and was once used to make a documentary about weasels on the television. On my visit l saw a weasel chase and overcome a rabbit twice it's size, it was very gruesome, like watching a wildlife film where one wants to save the deer from the lioness.
I hope that this has given you some ideas about myself and my work. I find the whole concept of this work very exciting, yet very vague as to times, expectations and outcomes. I hope these will fall into place as l have my week-end assisting work, nights (thank-you for challenging my attitudes and limited use of words, Carer!) and children to juggle. l can give roughly three days a week to this work, but can be flexible. l feel that I'm drifting out to sea, what an adventure.