Lost Children Current work in progress includes some new embroidered pieces - this pomegranate with six lost seeds and this pencil-sketched plan for another embroidery showing a contemporary Persephone contemplating Climate Change. My thinking on the subject is going along a few lines.
Firstly, I'm interested in Demeter who, at the loss of her daughter, searches the world trailing winter behind her. I am planning to dig into this mother-daughter dynamic, into what is lost and what is transformed and how I might express this.
Of course, the drama of the lost or stolen child is incredibly prevalent in the stories we consume, it's the calamity driving plots in so many genres, a theme that touches a most primal fear, the defenceless innocent facing the perils of nature and the schemes of the experienced. This reminds me of James Hillman's essay where he speaks of the defenceless child as symbolic of our experiences of being helpless and alone: "We know well enough that there are some things we never learn, cannot help, fall back to and cry from again and again. These inaccessible places where we are always exposed and afraid, where we cannot learn, cannot love, and cannot help by transforming, repressing, or accepting are the wildernesses where the abandoned child lies hidden."* Whenever I hit a state of mind, I’ve promised myself never to revisit, I take comfort in the notion that it can’t be helped! There are images developing around this theme too. * Loose Ends, Hillman, James, Spring Publications Inc, 1975
(A Woman's) Fatal Cravings
Yes, that old chestnut! I may never tire of this particular subject. All Persephone had to do was resist eating the food of the underworld and we would live in eternal summer but, much like Pandora, Eve and all of Bluebeard's wives, she was just too weak. Persephone is yet another young, fertile object of desire, characterised as weak and perhaps a little dim. Which reminds me of an additional interesting notion: Margaret Atwood, when speaking about the enduring popularity of The Handmaids Tale, suggested that fertile women, as a limited but vital resource in every society, must be controlled. Perhaps our casual association of stupidity with the young and the beautiful and the ways that this assumption is used are significant here?