Purse Stories

For me, a purse has become a metaphor for women’s private interior space, the place we store away hopes, dreams, memoires, tears and love.  Purses hold the ‘stuff’ we inherit from our foremothers, the ‘stuff’ we pass along to our daughters.

‘Purse Stories’ is a collection of remembrances told by women about the handbags that played significant parts in their lives.  It is also a collection of pocketbooks, puled from closets, resale shops and often, simply from memory.

‘Purse Stories’ evolved from collaboration with Houston’s Weave Dance Company.  Together we worked on ‘Womans p a c e’, a full-length work that premiered at Stages Repertory Theater in May 1999.  The photo collages in the FotoFest exhibition are comprised of images of the dancers as well as images from a glass negative and a vintage photograph.  Each collage is a ‘place memory’ suggesting wisdom, dreams, loss, and circular time.

During the FotoFest exhibition, viewers shared ever more purse stories which led to the development in 2002 of www.pursestories.com, an interactive website where viewers can add their own stories and images.