Wivenhoe Bookshop Magazine & Newsletter | Tuesday 16 July 2024

CRONE: Exhibition Workshops & Book Launch

The CRONE Project

CRONE is an exhibition of work by local artists, makers and writers who are femmes d’une certaine age. The exhibition acknowledges and raises questions about how older women in particular negotiate spaces in which to continue to be creative and to have agency in their work. Jayne Wallett is showing a collection of portraits she has painted of crones known to her in the present day. The exhibition is accommodated in a notional living room, as a home for making, mending and creating which is conceived and put together by the CRONE collective. The black boarded shed itself is viewed as collaborator, as a contemporary iteration of Baba Yaga’s iconic shack mounted on chicken legs to enable untrammelled movement and involvement in the world.

At the Wivenhoe bookshop’s black boarded shed, the collective has created a room for one’s crone allegedly occupied by the fictional character Barbara Jaeger (as portrayed in Carole Webster’s new poetry collection HEX SALT BIRD BEE), an every-crone for our times, as an inheritor of the terrifying mantle of Baba Yaga, a so-called witch from Russian folk tales, who transcends gender as a shamanic figure. The character of Baba Yaga highlights the perceived gender ambiguity of the crone who is somehow not quite a woman and not quite a man, thereby blurring and deforming the caring and nurturing characteristics most often associated with women. Baba Yaga is quixotic and violent, she/they might assist you in a quest or put you to death on a whim. She/they is a powerful trickster who plays on the borders of life and death, often straddling both domains.

With these ambiguities and contentions in mind CRONE invites you to spend time in Barbara Jaeger’s living room, to view, touch and interact with artefacts which bear witness to her supposed life. You will be encouraged to draw your own conclusions and to make your own suppositions about her, as a means to enter into a conversation with your own inner and outer creative crone.


This series of four workshops will enable you to explore intriguingly rich and diverse ideas about the figure of the crone in the present day. The CRONE exhibition and workshops taking place in the bookshop shed will provide a space for creating, making and mending, as well as a home for sharing experiences and discussion where you will be welcomed by local artists and makers who are part of the CRONE collective.

Each workshop will cost £12.00, tea or coffee will be provided.

Wednesday 19th October. Afternoon 2.00 – 4.00pm

Carole Webster

‘Who is Barbara Jaeger? ‘

This workshop (for all level of abilities) draws upon the artefacts, materials, texts and images which embody CRONE and the notional world of Barbara Jaeger. This might take the form of drawing, painting, writing, or making in response to the physical and metaphysical environment of the exhibition. This workshop is intended to provide space and time for individual creative practice. Carole will be facilitating rather than teaching or demonstrating.

This workshop has now finished

Thursday 20th October, Afternoon 2.00 – 4.00pm

Marian de Vooght

‘Mending Poetry’

Explore writing about items of old worn clothing that you don’t want to part with.Your notes on the emotional value of these pieces, coupled with the practical side of mending will help you start the writing of your poem.
Click for more details and to book online.

Meet the Makers

Emma Cameron

‘As an artist and a psychotherapist, I am fascinated by what it is to be a ‘self’, and to express oneself with authenticity and creativity. To me, the notion of the Crone speaks to the part of us that is unconcerned by social norms and niceties. The Crone opens unapologetically and with curiosity towards the present moment unfolding of experience. One eye is drawn towards myth, imagination and the beyond-life; the other delights in being firmly rooted in the grubs, shoots and cobwebs of the earthy world.’

A graduate of London’s Central St Martin’s School of Art, Emma has shown her paintings in numerous solo exhibitions over almost thirty years. She enjoys deepening her integrative arts psychotherapy practice with AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy), as well as teaching integrative arts psychotherapy at IATE, London, and integrative psychotherapeutic counselling at Matrix College, Norfolk. www.emmacameron.com

Kate Powis

‘My sister and I told tales of Baba Yaga to each other as children in our shared bedroom. Her grotesque and feral nature fascinated us in ways that princesses, queens and fairies never did. We felt the primal shudder of the ground beneath us as her pestle pounded it and propelled her over the Russian forest. We felt the fiery eyes of the skulls guarding her chicken-footed shack boring into us out of the mortal darkness. She liberated us to begin to celebrate chaos out of order and order out of chaos – and the shadow side of life.

‘I have my own shack now, with bottles and bones, seeds and dried grasses and petals. And it’s home to many spiders. This is where I assemble these poppets, nests, witch bottles… in homage to that baboushka. I yearn for chicken feet to sprout from the base of my hut so it can follow the sun; so that I can cry to the moon wherever she rises.’

Marian de Vooght

Marian de Vooght’s TAGLINES will be shown in the Shed. These are seven poems made with words and names found on clothes tags and sewn onto fabric, with embroidered text in between. The poems are tangible, playful and subversive, and some are worrying signs of the times. Marian has also written poems about processes of mending and altering clothes. These will also be in the Shed and will serve as the basis for her workshop on Mending Poetry.

Jayne Wallett

‘I have had a lifelong interest in drawing and painting portraits of women, and female figures that represent them; mannequins, statues and dolls. I am particularly drawn to imagery of women from myth and history; queens, mermaids, goddesses and harpies. For my MA final project I made a set of dresses symbolising the ages of women; Maiden, Nymph and Crone. The third dress was based on an 18th Century pattern but made of transparent plastic to represent the ‘invisibility’ of older women.’

Jayne has recently published Burning Down the House, Women of Ambition and Power (2022, eyeglass books), a book which depicts her collection of portraits and commentary on, real, mythic and cultural queens, which were shown together as an exhibition in the bookshop shed. Jayne will be exhibiting her recent paintings of crones known personally to her during CRONE.

Carole Webster

‘I am influenced by Rebecca Stott’s notion of a ‘secular sublime’ with its emphasis on ‘immersion’ and ‘immanence’ as a means of offering an alternative non-hierarchical position for creative work formed in association with the non human. My approach to writing is characterised by what the artist and writer Leonora Carrington describes as the right eye peering into the telescope, “while the left peers into the microscope”, thereby using “every perspective possible”, to avoid a limiting single subject writing position.’

Carole will launch her recently published collection of poetry: HEX SALT BIRD BEE illustrated by Jayne Wallett (2022, eyeglass books) during CRONE on Saturday 15th October 3.00 – 5.00pm.
Click for more details and to book online.