My favourite works were in the Room of Dreams itself, especially those displayed in the frames that dominated one full wall.
As i’ve just started to look into narrative jewellery this exhibition was great to visit as each of Ramshaw’s pieces reflects a different story, myth or fairytale.
Here are a few of favourites from the exhibition:
“‘Weeping Woman‘, 1937, belongs to the series of paintings of Dora Maar. She weeps, expressing her sadness and grief. Picasso uses her to express a war-torn Europe.
“The inspiration for the shape of the tears came from a segment of mauve glass with a droplet-like shape which was once part of a Victorian chandelier. This water shaped form was recreated in luminous glass in shades of blue and green. The double stranded necklace is strung to appear like a cascade of water drops. Over 100 of these glass droplets are hung on the steel of the necklace, achieving an apparently random effect. The necklace expresses my feelings for the beautiful Dora Maar who, according to the visual records of Picasso, wept many tears. The beauty of the colours detract from her sadness and crying. Dora Maar’s tears of sadness are lifted into another realm, a realm of beauty and joy, as one might find in a fairy tale.”
“Moonstone has always been my favourite stone. It is so magical, mystical and romantic, and in this case sad. These two pieces were inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:
“Suddenly she came upon a little three-legged table, all made of solid glass; there was nothing on it except a tiny golden key, and Alice’s first thought was that it might belong to one of the doors of the hall; but, alas! either the locks were too large, or the key was too small, but at any rate it would not open any of them. However, on the second time round, she came upon a low curtain she had not noticed before, and behind it was a little door about fifteen inches high: she tried the little golden key in the lock, and to her great delight it fitted!…
“Poor Alice! It was as much as she could do, lying down on one side, to look through into the garden with one eye; but to get through was more hopeless than ever: she sat down and began to cry again. “You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” said Alice, “a great girl like you” (she might well say this), “to go on crying in this way! Stop this moment, I tell you!” But she went on all the same, shedding gallons of tears, until there was a large pool all round her, about four inches deep, and reaching half down the hall.””
“This necklace was inspired by the Grimm fairytale, Rumplestiltskin.
“A miller lied to the king that his daughter could spin straw into gold, in order to make himself appear more important than he was. The king called for the girl, shut her in a tower room with straw and a spinning wheel, and demanded that she spin the straw into gold by morning, for three nights, or be executed. She had given up all hope, when a dwarfish creature appeared in the room and spun straw into gold for her in return for her necklace; then again the following night for her ring. On the third night, when she had nothing with which to reward him, the strange creature spun straw into gold for a promise that the girl’s first-born child would become his. The king was so impressed that he married the miller’s daughter, but when their first child was born, the dwarf returned to claim his payment: “Now give me what you promised”. The queen was frightened and offered him all the wealth she had if she could keep the child. The dwarf refused but finally agreed to give up his claim to the child if the queen could guess his name within three days. At first she failed, but before the final night, her messenger discovered the dwarf’s remote mountain cottage and, unseen, overheard the dwarf hopping about his fire and singing. When the dwarf came to the queen on the third day she revealed his name and Rumpelstiltskin lost his bargain. In the 1812 edition of the Brothers Grimm Tales, Rumpelstiltskin, the dwarf, then “ran away angrily, and never came back”.”
I love looking at objects and thinking about the stories behind them, here they are clear and have roots in fairytales and folklore, others are harder to grasp at and more fleeting. As is the world of visual storytelling.