I love repurposing old books into new ones. Telling new stories from old words. I pick up a book from the op-shop which looks interesting, has old images, beautiful descriptive language or a style that will tell a new version of a story.
These are leaves which will together be placed into a box. These are random pages; each telling a short tale, reflecting a feeling for the day, or making an observation. I created many of them in 2020 as part of my Artwork a Day project, and I note as I look at them now, some of them reflect the inklings of alone-ness I sometimes felt towards the end of our long Melbourne lockdown.
Last year I picked up a 1966 copy of Bedtime Stories by Enid Blyton and was surprised to read the harsh language used by adults towards children in these stories. There was a lot of “you will be punished” and “you should be ashamed”. The stories always had a happy ending; nonetheless they chronicle a style of parenting and ‘adult-ing’ of children that has largely passed out of common practice now, and was jarring to the modern ear.
I work with people who experienced a very harsh childhoods, who were abused and/or neglected. They carry those feelings of fear, anxiety and shame onwards for decades. The retold Bedtime Stories I created in these two Bedtime Stories books are more or less true stories from my participants.
These books and many others will be exhibited at the Bunjil Library, Narre Warren from 27th April 2021, and I will be running a workshop around this idea with the City of Darebin on 13 June. https://www.darebinarts.com.au/current-programs/write-make-think-recovery/