Collaboration made in Heaven
I had the privilege to work on a special commission recently when the American writer, Jody Hadlock, asked me to create a painting based on her new novel “The Lives of Diamond Bessie”. My new scarf: ‘Diamond Bessie’ is based on that commissioned painting.
Jody first saw my artwork on a trip to Ireland in 2018 when she was researching her historical novel – as her main character was born in County Cork in the 19th century. While on her travels she visited the Old Blarney café in Cork, where my art was then hanging on display. She fell in love with one of my paintings, bought it and this is how our relationship started!
In her book Jody tells a story of Annie Moore, known later as ‘Diamond Bessie’, an Irish Immigrant living in America. As a teenager Annie fell pregnant and was sent to a convent, where her baby was taken away from her. She ran away from the convent and before long Annie was forced into prostitution as a means of survival. In essence Jody’s book follows Annie’s life, and her struggles as a woman trying to start a ‘normal’ life during a time when women found it very hard to get by.
Annie was an extraordinary woman and the book tells her story within the background of the suffragettes movement: Jody draws you into Annie’s world and the atmospheric 19th century. Jody beautifully depicts Annie’s story, and Ireland itself, and I have tried to capture this in my scarf design where every element of the design is related to the story. I won’t give away much more as I would love you to read the story for yourself!
I think it’s amazing how the past connected myself and Jody – our collaboration has produced a truly unique and special tribute to Annie Moore, women’s struggles and Irish immigrants. I hope you get a chance to follow the story too.
You can buy "Diamond Bessie" silk scarf here.