Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Paradise Fruit




Paradise fruit (2010/11) - a magic artifact in a bag

In the world of dreams and fairytales there are many wondrous things. Golden apples with magical properties grow in the enchanted orchards of castles, pomegranates come from far-away lands with their sweet seeds that glisten like rubies and heal our sorrows. In the Garden of Eden a tree carries fruit that promises knowledge to those who eat it. Some fruits are forbidden, others can be dangerous like the poisoned apple that sends Snow-White to sleep.

Handsome knights and brave princesses, on horseback or magic carpets, undertake long, arduous journeys into unknown territories, weathering storms, fighting evil and overcoming obstacles in search of such miraculous fruits. Once they have found the object of their desire, they take great care to look after it, love and cherish their treasure like the apple of their eye.

The Paradise fruit comes from the secret garden of my imagination, and has grown under my hands. It is not edible, but it too has magical properties. A precious thing, it is kept in a jeweled bag made from sumptuous velvet embellished with silver, its shiny edges rustling as we gently squeeze it in our hands. The bag is delightful to look at, but it only when we touch that we are drawn deep into its enchanted circle.

Touch is always reciprocal: we can see without being seen, but we cannot touch without being touched. The eyes can see from afar, but to touch we must get close. Vision is fast, touch takes time or, as tactile artist Rosalind Driscoll says, vision is the hare to the tortoise of touch.

Brightly coloured fabric peeps out behind the silver edges of the bag; undoing a button set with sparkling diamonds the bag half-opens and we can feel the soft and smooth texture of the colour lining. With a pull and a pop the content of the bag is finally revealed: the Paradise fruit in a nest of bright colours, crowned with a jeweled velvet flower, its soft segments’ edges glittering with silvery threads like frozen dew.

When we hold the fruit in our hands, squeeze, stroke and poke it gently, it responds to the warmth of our touch as if acknowledging our presence. Colours change, brighten and lighten, as if the fruit was blushing with the pleasure of being held, admired and appreciated. As we marvel at the transient marks left by our fingers upon the fruit’s sensitive skin, we can see the power of touch and feel its magic. This might be a good time to make a wish: maybe it will be granted and the next frog we kiss will turn into the gorgeous prince (or princess) we deserve. Never underestimate the power of stories.



Solveigh Goett (PhD) is a textile artist and researcher working with the fabric of our lives and dreams. She makes things to entice the narrative imagination, to be explored and enjoyed by curious eyes, hands and minds, and passionately believes in the transformative power of art and stories. More about her work can be found in her cabinet of textile wonders at http://www.mirabilia-domestica.co.uk/.

My thanks to David Croxford at Cornelius plc for providing samples of thermochromic inks for this project.

Commissioned by Leicestershire County Council's Open Museum - Held in the Hand Boxes

http://www.leics.gov.uk/index/leisure_tourism/museums/open_museum/artworks/heldinthehand/heldinthehand_sen.htm

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