I have always been an avid op-shopper. As a young woman in her twenties who was exploring her creative potential, I used to collect vintage dresses and frocks from the 40’s and 50’s, which at the time were easy to find in op-shops. I was attracted to their beauty; their often gracious styles, fabrics and floral designs, and I was able to access another era of femininity in the wearing of them. With motherhood, ‘middle age’, plus the diagnosis of breast cancer in which I am in the middle of treatment, new challenges to femininity arise, and I find myself again attracted to the dress but this time as a potent symbol in my work.
In the “Paper, Scissors, Frock” series I have used the dress as a frame, and in a sense a vessel, in which to contain images of growth, death, life, surrender, and healing, and the internal musings of this particular path on which I find myself. With that playful youthfulness involved in the collecting of those old dresses, that same free spirit is in the making of the papercuts. But a little older and a little wiser. The papercuts play with shadow and spirit. They are crafted around a kitchen table, the centre and heart of the home and family. They are works that deeply resonate with my place in life right now and the knowledge that the feminine will continue to change and evolve over the course of a lifetime.
Sue Codee, 2010