Another artists to "beware" of from the exhibition Beware of embroidery. Tamar Stone's work is refreshing and evocative. I love, I mean love her corset books. Simply as objects they are gorgeous and then as conceptual pieces they are pretty awesome too. The text for the books has mostly been taken from 18th and 19th century behavioral manuals- so I am sure that the language is fascinating, disturbing, oppressive, and powerful in this context.
Tamar talks about how the physical process of reading the books continues to build the concept of the piece:
Having to take the time to slow down to unlace all the ties, undo the buckles in order to read all the text, is part of the contemplation and therapy of the process; echoing what women have been experiencing for a century of dressing and undressing.
It carries the beauty of a lovely figure which is the priceless possession of girlhood…into the dignity and poise of gracious womanhood.... Co-ordinate your mind and body to create a picture of beauty.
The books are simply amazing, unfolding and unfolding to reveal more and more. Sometimes the books are created entirely of corsets sewn inside of each other- each one with language and words that explore the "roles" placed on women and the constrictions and expectations that come from those roles.
Sometimes the corset acts more as a book cover to reveal a more traditional fiber book inside.
Either way the objects act a bit like a Pandora's box of secrets - that keeps opening for you to reveal more.
Each book is meticulously constructed and often held inside of a gorgeous and precious box. Leading the viewer to feel that the book itself is very precious and perhaps even fragile.
Tamar's website is also beautiful and will suck you in as she has taken the time to write about the background and inspiration of each individual book and taken multiple photographs so that you can experience the book opening right before your eyes.
She also creates just as compelling and beautiful "bed books."
This life size bed piece strips down layer by layer until you end with a hand stitched mattress. In describing this series I feel like Tamar has taken words right out of my mouth, her description of what draws her to the bed as subject matter is almost word for word what I have said myself about my draw to the bed as place and subject of my own work:
Historically our life cycle begins and ends in the bed, from being born in a bed, and then dying in one. As children we used the bed as an impromptu trampoline or tent. As we got older, it became the place in which intimacies are shared with significant others. It used to be that all of our life cycles (birth, sickness, death) occurred in our beds, in the family home.
Tamar's website is wealth of imagery, background, and information to further understand her work and inspiration. I highly recommend a nice long visit. Prepare to have your mouth gape at the beauty of her work and be inspired by her very thoughtful practice.