The Pieces Of Me
Amy Dillwyn kept diaries throughout her life. The Pieces of Me are mono-prints of one personal diary that had large sections cut out. In removing these pieces, Dillwyn appears to be editing herself from or for herself.
The Iron on the Dress is in response to Amy Dillwyn’s first steps of divorcing societal restraints and expectations. Many times she refers to herself as molten metal, a furnace. The act of pouring molten metal over the dress alludes to the developing world of industry in Amy’s later life and the breaking out from conforming, moving from the path that was set onto one of her own making, and the celebration of this road she carved for herself.
Le jeu ne valait pas la chandelle
Le jeu ne valait pas la chandelle was the first piece of work created in response to the life and fiction of Amy Dillwyn. The piece considers the death of Llewellyn her fiancé, and arguably the liberation of Amy from the life of marriage. The body is dressed replicating a funeral described in the novel Jill, embracing the stripped-back simple nature of death in contrast to the Victorian obsession of the time. Death also seemed integral to her liberation from the societal restraints upon women, and also recognition of her individuality.
I was selected for the Wales Arts Review residency for the month of March 2017. My project for this residency was on the subject of Amy Dillwyn with a focus on her-story (history) and gender. Before and during this time I contacted Professor Kirsti Bohata from Swansea University. She facilitated my research and gave me access to Swansea archives, including access to Amy Dillwyn’s personal diaries. The work created on the residency was in response to Dillwyn’s life and fiction. At the end of the residency I invited Professor Bohata to discuss the final works. It became apparent that I had responded to Amy’s early life, arguably when she started the divorce proceedings against society after the death of her finance.
The story of Amy Dillwyn has been miss-told in history; however, Amy Dillwyn’s story is a strong Swansea woman, a woman ahead of her time, a woman that loved another woman Olive all her life, and a woman who displayed attributes that would arguably challenge cultural norms of today.
Elizabeth Andrews To Do Pile
Elizabeth Andrews was born in Penderyn, Rhondda Cynon Taf in 1882.
After first hand experience of the horrid mining conditions within Rhondda communities, in 1919 Andrews worked as a campaigner for mining families of the Rhondda valley. The introduction of pitthead showers were largely down to her, with the help of two other miners wives giving evidence of the working life’s of women in the mining communities to the Sankey commission.
Caring “passionately about the suffering she saw around her and vowed to change the lot
of miners’ wives in the South Wales valleys”, she helped outline the poor social conditions such as:
Over crowded homes.
High death rate of their children.
The lifting, carrying and moving of boiling water often resulting in scalding’s
High miscarriage rate.
Constant drying of clothes in small damp kitchens having detrimental effects on family health.