The week after that - from 1st December - is the Bodleian exhibition - my book will only be on show in a digital format but here are some pics trying to show how it opens out as promised.....
The Wise Woman’s Girdle Book
The asymmetry, irregularity and organic materials of medieval books always inspire my own contemporary aesthetic but a few things sprang out from the books shown to us – new variations of folded papers, the sewing up of holes in the vellum, the ‘veiling device’.
I immediately wanted to make a very female book to hang on a girdle, which would include cosmography and zodiac references, and alchemical, herbal and temporal devices and iconography, for lunar and menstrual cycles rather than the liturgical year.
I then later read about the Voynich manuscript in the LRB* and found that what I had started to imagine possibly already existed; with its coded text and intimations of women’s affairs - the LRB hinted at possible …’heretical descriptions of female contraception or abortion…’ – unsurprisingly, someone in the 16thc had got there before me.
However I decided to proceed with my own version, and meet the Voynich MS head on.
As the LRB revue pointed out, ‘…studying the (Voynich) MS in the hope of unlocking its secrets is to miss the point ‘… there are ideas embedded in my book but the main idea is to enjoy playing with parallel worlds.