All Books are second hand
Gwen Van Embden
Like The Flat Gallery, Blue Mary: Handwork for Keeping the Home was produced as an academic requirement towards the attainment of a masters degree, but this is perhaps the only similarity between the two projects. Where Siemon Allen documented the public life of what would ordinarily have been a private living space, Gwen van Embden delved into her family's and particularly her mother's past. In a very personal journey which sought to untangle old familial puzzles and relationships, Van Embden collected and drew on photographs and objects, both humble and historical, as clues along the way. As part of this process of self-discovery and enlightenment, Van Embden investigates the meaning of work made by women, and uses many of the images unearthed in different ways: in what must have been a very painful exercise, the heart shape first stitched onto a pre-school sampler is now stitched into her own breast. Old photographs are transferred in blue glaze to a dinner service which is now in use in her family.