Work by Maggie Le May :: Poem by Gerda Stevenson

textile art


Reconstructed Head of a Young Woman

Shetland Museum.

From the Prologue of Quines by Gerda Stevenson

Artist’s statement

Gerda says in the introduction to Quines “from the moment I saw her, she claimed all my attention” and this is how I felt about the poem in the Prologue.

The poem called to me in the same way – across centuries – and I know how I had felt seeing such a reconstruction and tried to find a way of expressing the meeting of the two women.

I knew I wanted to make two heads, and as I like working in three dimensions set about learning how to make a fabric head. After several false starts I found these two heads were the ones. I also needed a body for Gerda which I made and clad in some handwoven woollen fabric I had, used silk thread dyed with henna for her hair and surrounded her by books and papers. The Shetland young woman I put on stand. Her hair I made of sheep fleece dyed with henna and surrounded with the things she would have had at her fingertips, shells, stones, feathers, handmade rope, and a tiny skull on a shell.

I hope I reflected Gerda, the young woman, and the poem in the work.