January 16th, 2019

I’ve started The Waves by Virginia Woolf, her novel in soliloquies. A question I had about one of the book’s voices led me to read a bit more deeply about her sister, painter and designer Vanessa Bell. On this excursion I glimpsed the life of another writer and artist, Nina Hamnett, whose talent, eccentricity and twisted circumstances of her death could have landed her in the pages of Kate Zambreno’s Heroines.

Readings of dead modernist women on early weekday mornings, I return to the page, type someone back into existence. If a word finds itself which it often does locked behind a door with no key, use the memory of its shape as a pattern, and fashion it into a dress.

Here is Portrait of Nina Hamnett by Roger Fry, 1917. In it, she wears a dress designed by Vanessa Bell and made at Omega Workshops.