Trapped, constricted, tied down by societies rules of norm. It is a shared history for many, and depressingly a largely female one. Whilst many men had at least some room for manoeuvre within their lot, some could work their way into different fields, different positions, some could emigrate, start afresh, anew, women could only really change their circumstances under the shadow of another.
The men in their life, whether father, brother, husband, son, often set the parameters of a womans life, and the opportunities, or lack of them. Women had few if any outlets for growth, and were expected to support and compliment the world of the men in their life, that role was rarely reciprocal.
I know from the stories in my own family history, as well as that of others, the staggering amount of women, generation after generation after generation, who lived in frustration, angry at the tiny world they were deemed to need. Many of them more sharply aware that they were more talented, more energetic, more dynamic than many of the men that surrounded them, yet, powerless to make a significant mark of their lives, to drive it in a direction that suited them, to have a purpose that didn't involve household and family.
Which inevitably leads us to Rita Summers and The Making of Mary Mordaunt. Rita Summers is a mixed media artist who produces work in a range of mediums from textiles to books, from fashion to art prints, and assemblages. She uses eco printing and dyeing, as well as mixed media techniques, and stitching and drawing.
The Making of Mary Mordaunt project was an important one for Rita, as a woman, and perhaps more specifically as a contemporary woman. Rita is fully aware that the contemporary world is in many ways a different place than it has been for so many countless generations of women, but she is also aware that in many ways it is still exactly the same. So in some respects, the Mary Mordant project reflects the past constriction in the role of a woman as individual, but can equally reflect the present constriction that many women still find themselves in within own present world.
I am going to allow Rita to give the detailed description and purpose of The Making of Mary Mordaunt, in her own words. There is little I would want to change or add, so it seems fitting.
Mary Mordaunt was a young woman in the early 1900's who, like everyone, had hopes and dreams that she put on hold for family and financial reasons. She deeply wanted purpose in her life, beyond the usual daily routine activities. Sometimes the frustration became almost more than she could bear, and she would feel herself unravelling. Her dilemma is an age-old one, especially for women, even today. The vintage clothing I've repurposed, the torn silk, the rust - all these express in visual form who she was and how she felt. The vintage suitcase represents both her desire to travel and see the world, and her willingness to drop everything to be with those she loved, even if it meant putting her own wishes on hold. The shredded paper symbolizes how she felt when she was torn between her responsibilities and her dreams. Mary Mordaunt's story could be anyone's, including mine!
Just like to say a big thankyou to Rita for the opportunity to feature Mary Mordant, it was both a pleasure an an honour, and also to give credit where credit is due, Mary Mordant being a finalist in the national Bibliography Art Award 2016, in Port Fairie, Victoria, Australia.
Rita has a website: www.gonerustic.com. She can also be found on social media sites: twitter, facebook
One final note, the imagery for this article was supplied by the artist, and you really do need to ask her permission before sharing any of the imagery. Thanks
I leave you with the final few words Rita penned regarding Mary Mordaunt:
a ticking clock
my secret dreams
my patience ripped
can hope emerge
or is this all there is