Magdalene Laundries

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

6″ x 4.25″ x 1.25″
Leather Coptic binding over papyrus. Collage.

In 1993 when property held by the Sisters of Charity in Dublin was to be sold, unmarked graves of 133 women were discovered. The shameful history of the Magdalene laundries can be found on the web and in the excellent movie by Peter Mullan, The Magdalene Sisters. I saw the movie in Ireland in the fall of 2002 and began this book shortly after.

In reviewing the “Conceptually Bound” exhibit in ARTSHIFT San Jose, Julia Bradshaw says: At a smaller scale, but never-the-less similarly powerful, Dorothy Simpson Krause used a small news item and a film as the spark for her project. A small dense book bound using a black leather Coptic binding with red leather accents, hand-sewn headbands and papyrus pages treated with a variety of collage and drawing methods, Krause has created a precious item that at first sight appears to be a hymnal or a bible. Krause’s book ‘Magdalene Laundries’ was inspired by her learning that “in 1993 when property held by the Sisters of Charity in Dublin was to be sold, unmarked graves of 133 women were found.” Each page of this thick, intense book is hand-inscribed or hand-printed with text or facts or makes use of found photographs to express the poignant histories of some of the girls who were imprisoned against their will. In its entirety, the book feels like a prayer to the God of Never-Again.