16 August 2011

Glossolalia Installation: Louisa Beaman

Louisa Beaman by Marita Dachsel (mp3)

I had fun putting this installation together, going through all the scraps of ribbons and fabrics I've accumulated, in addition to the strange ephemera I seem to amass. I wanted the piece to be very tactile and textured. My favourite detail is the mini-teapot on the tiny vanity I picked up at an antique mall in Edmonton. During the planning stages of the installation, I took out about four costume/historical fashion books from the library to get an idea what women wore in that time. I'm not much of an artist, so the sketches of Louisa's dream dresses are not the best. She was believed to have been a seamstress, so I'm sure she would have done much better drawings.
Although weddings in those days were nothing like the events put on today, they were obviously very important, arguably more important in the lives of women then than now. I tried to envision what it must have been like for a young woman to have to give up her wedding day dreams, only to be married to a man that she was not publicly allowed to acknowledge as her husband.

(Louisa Beaman is the first polygamous wife of Joseph Smith that the church recognized. I won't go into it all here, but if you are interested in the real story, can find a comprehensive background on the woman here.)