Thursday, 11 December 2014

Marriage lines

‘Marriage lines’ is my response to a group project at Jane Austen House Museum. The brief was to make a textile response to link Jane Austen’s needlework and some pages from her unfinished story ‘The Watsons’, which are currently on display in the house on loan from the Bodleian Library. I was struck by Jane Austen’s use of pins to ‘cut and paste’ paragraphs from her manuscript, in the same way she must have used pins to hold her needlework together before sewing it. I therefore wanted to link the ideas of pins, unfinished text and fabric, and I decided to make a wedding veil, as Jane’s stories all link to marriage and courtship. The lace trim of the veil includes words from a quote about marriage from ‘The Watsons’ spoken by the heroine’s sister, Elizabeth: ‘I think I could like any good humoured man with a comfortable income’. The words are on separate pieces of lace and are pinned in place, in the same way Jane pinned her needlework and her manuscripts, suggesting that she is just about to sew them down but hasn’t quite decided on their final arrangement. The veil therefore mirrors Jane Austen’s own practice in crafting textiles and text and her equivocal views about marriage - her own and those of her characters.

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