Girdle Books

When I began to study the history and forms of books, I discovered an ancient structure called the girdle book. These were leather-bound prayer books medieval monks lashed to their belts, their girdles, so their prayers would always be at hand. I had a different vision. My girdle books would contain new objects of devotion, new contemplations. I thought of girdles as binders, like notebooks, places to house stories and ideas in structures designed to push and mold female figures into idealized, often unreal shapes. Working with the girdle form has been a process of healing, of learning to love the femaleness of my body, and become comfortable in my own skin.

I use the language of clothing. Frozen and stiff, the garment becomes immobile, as if the wearer evaporated, leaving a only a shell. They become places. Enclosures. Upon opening, the ghost of the missing person still remains in the echo of the garment’s fixed shape. When opened, what remains are fragments, small found objects and books nestled within. The books are the distilled essence of the story, the one left behind by the “person” who once inhabited the garment.