Eleanor Hannan and Elizabeth Dancoes's 1001 Funny Things you can do with a Skirt
Stories and art on the ancient skirt gesture of Anasyrma

How We Met and Began

The Dialogues

Dialogue 1

How we met and began:

Eleanor:   I first heard of you around 1993/94. You had just mounted your theatre piece Paradise and the Wasteland. I remember thinking you were a superstar; very very talented, amazing creative mind and heart. (I wouldn’t have dreamt of ever meeting you). I remember your picture in the Straight sitting coolly on the interior stairs of the Firehall theatre.

Elizabeth:  Then you found out how short I was. I didn’t know you at that time but we had a mutual friend K who owned a figure of yours that I admired.

Eleanor:  It had been commissioned by my former sister-in-law. She had seen my piece in the show in Artropolis, 93’ (already referencing the skirt as subject/ object) and had bought several pieces.

Elizabeth:  I was dramaturging a play K had written that you did astonishing set pieces for.  I think that was when we finally met in person and very quickly started to talk about working on something together.

Eleanor:   I seem to recall in the early days there were just the three of us and we would   meet for tea and scones mornings at K’s or my house. We would all three have read something and we met to discuss it. It was so rewarding to do that; to meet and talk through feminine mythology with writers. I was an image person. I recall that difference.

Elizabeth:  We wandered in a field of fairytales at first and tinkered a bit with the notion of  attempting some interactive retellings. I’m not sure I would have remembered that were it not for almost forgotten files on my computer.  At the time you were working on a solo show?

Eleanor:   For the Richmond Art Gallery called My Mother’s Skirts. I wanted the skirt to  represent/be the language of personal evolution; a carrier/offering; the symbol of the language of expression of wordless experience between my mother and me; a deeper expression, a symbol of a feminine reality that was impacted by the patriarchal culture. That was 1995 that the show happened.

Elizabeth:  Attending was a deeply moving experience. I’m privileged to have one of the pieces from that show.  I’ll never forget the day my daughter discovered that the pattern on the inside fabric of the skirt was little stick men with erections. Anyway while excavating fairytales we encountered myth.

Eleanor: Really? I don't even remember 'the little stick men with erections', I haven't seen the piece close up for years. You brought in that Baubo book.

Elizabeth:   The Metamorphosis of Baubo by Winifred Lubell.

Eleanor:      That was the real beginning.

Elizabeth:    That -and for me seeing- My Mother’s Skirts- brought the path into focus.