Its All in The Game Duff House 2008
Home Grown Talent III Duff House Banff Aberdeenshire. 2008
"Moira's hankies really took me back in time.They were a great treasure and a common Christmas gift. Always welcome to receive. Then came the war and things like that were looked upon as an unnecessary luxury.Never really did come back into fashion.Nowadays they have been replaced by throwaway paper tissues.Dressed in those pre war days always included a lacy embroidered handkie sticking out of your sleeve.Mind you in my school days you kept a plain handkie up the leg of your knickers, if you werent lucky enough to have a pocket in your knickers!"
Elsie Adams 2008
Its All In The Game .
The house has witnessed its own share of unhappy occupants and events, having been a prisoner of war camp in WWII, a Sanatorium and was the scene of the tragic death of Alexander, the young grandchild of the 3rd earl of Fife. It was also home to Dorothea Sinclair who married the 2nd Earl of Fife and who is referred to as “The unhappy Countess” due to her unfortunate marital circumstances.
This interested me, here was my absent presence, something retained by the fabric of the house itself, hidden, unseen. Not in a spiritualist way, though there have been incidents where some have “experienced” something but these remain very much unrecorded. My own approach is, I think,one of pure imagination and speculation.
The installation at duff house is situated in the impressive central stairwell. It consists of 201 lace edged handkerchiefs each hand made by myself, embroidered in gold thread with a quote from a folk tale /fairytale or popular story from around the world. Each quote contains the words or sentiment of weeping or unhappiness from the perspectives of both men and women. The handkerchiefs are pegged onto the inverted hoops from a bridal crinoline underskirt and each hankie has a small Swarovski crystal teardrop stitched to the end, like little frozen tears. The piece is constructed in the form of a chandelier, to emulate those already within the house, though the crinoline hoops by their nature are flexible and tend to dictate their own shape, which I have to say is a satisfying outcome.
The handkerchiefs are the embodiment of universal tears and unhappiness made visible. Unhappiness being a collectively recognisable condition and also highlighting that as a species we have the ability to weep for others as well as for ourselves.
The title is “Its All in the Game” from the Dawes/Sigmund popular song (covered by Van Morrison amongst others). Where there is a particular line “many a tear has to fall” which seems to sum up the highs and lows of love and life and seemed to me a most appropriate reference for this work.