As artist in residence at No. 34 I took on the character of the Cache Dressmaker. She began by collecting clothing and fabric from the staff working in the building.
She cut the fabric into miniature dresses, the silhouettes came naturally to her as she cut. She imagined the small garment would be comfortable and something she would wear.
The Cache Dressmaker left a legacy of deliberately concealed miniature dresses in the voids and hiding places of No. 34. The building is made of ‘hard stuff”, materials that she doesn’t handle easily. She crammed the fabric dresses far into the building; the soft and the hard; for luck; for love; to hide; to store; a memory or a treasure, so making her own story.
The Cache Dressmaker came to know No. 34, she began to understand how a place possess an atmosphere and speaks to you ‘soul to soul’; how wellbeing is affected by a building and how a building can become part of a you; the ‘outside sneaking inside’; the public discourse; the private affairs.
She wore two dresses during her residency at No.34, ‘Red House dress’, embroidered with cement and ‘Yellow Ghost dress’, the connection between what she wore and what she makes is affirming in her work.
She was accompanied by the Cache Dressmaker puppet, a small likeness of herself wearing ‘Red House dress’, the puppet played a supporting role watching and stitching. They performed the work to make a new version of reality.
The Cache Dressmaker also worked outside No.34, talking to passers by about her work and the 504 cached items found in the demolished building further down the High street. People of Sittingbourne were very proud of their heritage and the ‘cache discovery’.
During her residency the Cache Dressmaker collected stories from visitors, conversations included ‘shouting breaks houses’, ‘block up the chimney to stop the witches coming down’, ‘the Sittingbourne building with it’s beautiful cached clothes collecting rubble and dust in the fabric and lace’, ‘Do you have a scary room?’, ‘with your finger nail pick a hole in the wall through to the next room’, ‘mirrors on the windows reflecting back into the house’. Many of these conversations featured in her work.
On the final day of the residency visitors came to meet the Cache Dressmaker, they brought with them old clothes and fabric which they were invited to ‘deliberately conceal’ in the installation of her ‘small buildings’. The old clothes had stories attached to them and the activity of caching was poignant.