Artist’s Statement:“Anatomy of a Swan” is an excerpt from my hybrid-form book, The Bird-Hat Wearer’s Journal. Designed as a turn-of-the-century women’s magazine and combining poetry, memoir, research, and image, this project deals specifically with the history of feather-fashions and conservation, and more broadly with the cultural relationship between women and birds, and women and nature. I think of it existing at a juncture between feminist theory, environmental studies, and the history of fashion.
This excerpt feels particularly vulnerable and scary to me, as it explores a time in my life that I’ve almost never written about previously and never published material from. The connection with Swan Lake offered me a form and a partner narrative that allowed me to investigate the darker side of my own yearnings to achieve a particular feminine “ideal.”