Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Telling Ghost Stories

Wading by the lake-shore was how I spent my summers....
Watching my lover casting far and wide for golden
fishes and complimenting his skill.

Casting his greedy line further he found a catch more
golden than I would ever be....

Water, water, everywhere....What grave for me.

Floating in the water is how I'll spend this summer....
I'll again be the elusive prize he can never catch
and only he'll see.

I love ghost stories...the Gothic ones full of sadness and passion. No obvious gore for me thank you. The idea of an implied horror can be creepier than actually seeing the bloody victim or monster. The Medieval Silver Dagger Ballads and Edward Gorey's inspired my series Spectres of Unfortunate Romances.

So it was easy to come up with the idea of doing a series of ghost dolls, but the poem aspect really threw me at first. I am essentially creating stories and dolls about murder victims, but at the same time I want the ghosts to be giving their murderers hell too.

With the character, Nerina, she my have spent hours with her lover watching him fish and was killed and replaced by her rival, but with her ghost lurking in his favorite fishing spot....I don't think he'll enjoy himself any more.

I'm betting that Nerina's visits will get him to confess or give himself away. Since he's the only one that can see her, the problems the murderer will face trying to hide his fear will eventually break him down.

I really want to stay with the period motif of these dolls because the long skirts lend themselves to creating the floating feeling of a ghost. The victims in all the Silver Dagger Ballads I've seen were women, but some of the victims in Gorey's stories were male, so I have some choices to make as I continue this series.

Since this isn't the 14th century and women aren't quite the chattel we once were, I suppose I should consider doing a few male victims of love too. It is easy to portray only women as victims of choosing poorly when falling in love, but failed romances happen to everyone .

These dolls tend to be cathartic for me . I fill their stories with sad memories and let them go. Everyone can relate to a bad romance and the relief when it's over.


TBC said...

This is absolutely one of your lovely creations. I'm in awe of your dolls, the work & love that goes into them. You're a true artist, chat.

Laura Bartlett said...

You're so sweet. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I hope you continue this series...especially with the backstories and poems.

And yeah, I'd love to see what you would do with the male form!