An installation that explores the historical treatment of women’s mental health.
This project was created to explore the historical treatment of women’s mental health. The sphere reminds us that women were incarcerated within asylums very often needlessly, but the sphere is controllable by other people, pushed around and manipulated. The rags are reminiscent of rag trees where family would tie remnants of clothing from people who were sick in the belief that as the rag disintegrates the person would get better.
The arched central element is a reference to Charcot’s hysterical arch. It is hand dyed with St. johns wort a natural anti depressant and then quilted on one end in a brain pattern with a section from the front torn and removed referencing pre frontal lobotomy’s often given to women as a way of calming them.
The other end is stitched with paper and hand embroidered with salt crystals grown over the top that remind us of the tears shed. This end was created as a reference to the unclaimed cremation urns from a 19th century asylum that David Maisel photographed.