Here’s how this week’s arts and culture piece begins:
Agnes Richter, born in 1844, came from Dresden, Germany, and worked as a seamstress. At 49, she was admitted to Dresden’s City Lunatic Asylum, having been diagnosed as suffering from a persecution complex. Though found to be mentally stable, she was institutionalized for two years, then transferred to the Hubertusberg Psychiatric Institution and put under guardianship.
Her condition then rapidly deteriorated. In Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle, Clare Hunter describes what happened next“It was there that she took up a needle and thread and began to embroider text on the grey green linen of her regulation asylum jacket, re-fashioned to her own shape. Using different coloured thread and an antiquated German cursive script, she furiously stitched outrage in overlapping words, jagged letters, repeated assertions of self, Ich (I) sewn over and over again; emphatic avowals of existence…It is not set out in neat lines but rather words, phrases, and sentences are crowded together at odd angles across the cloth.”
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.