Friday, 10 April 2015

Out of hand

First of all, something about how I work: It often seems like I'm not actually doing anything. (Truthfully, sometimes I'm not!) Some of my friends like to just start and see where it takes them, making lots of false starts and mistakes along the way. I can't work like that; it drives me nuts! I have a long conversation with myself via a Word document, over a period of weeks, sometimes months, about how the work will come together. Then I just make it, usually over quite a short period.

So this is some excerpts from that online conversation.

I decided that I was interested in the concept wanton. I also found I was interested in faces, although these are technically difficult. They lend themselves to printing, though, as the most basic images read as faces, hence the popularity of emoticons. I am hoping for something more nuanced than that, of course! I didn't want to use an image of someone recognisable so I decided to use an image of a forebear of mine, long since gone to her reward. She wasn't, as far as I know, at all wanton. She was a very fierce and independent woman, which probably didn't make her a popular person in her time and so she probably attracted a few labels in her time. I'm using her silhouette, as a kind of all-purpose woman.

I did some research on the kind of women who were labelled as wanton, which led me to the Newcastle Industrial School I mentioned last time. I also got side-tracked onto words for prostitute (I found 37 before I stopped looking) and so many of them were denigrating. It intrigued me that there were no equivalent words for a man who goes with a prostitute. There isn't a word in Australian or UK English; the US word is a john. In Australia, they are clients or customers or punters...all words that have more respectable connotations as well. Just one of the double standards in our society, I guess.


Jennifer said...

I had no idea the Newcastle Industrial School ever existed......but my husband's grandfather sailed on the "Sabraon" which, after being named "Tingira", was the follow-up ship to the "Vernon".

Nola Archer said...

It was only there for such a tiny bit of time, and then they were sent elsewhere. It seems to have been an experiment that went wrong - the girls and their families told the court they were older than they were, in order to be released to their families; they "behaved badly" while in care; there seems to have been some conflict about what the function of the school actually was - punitive or reformatory. I found it fascinating, though it didn't really help me decide on what to make!