Clarice Spratling was a young woman of 24 when she decided, along with two friends, to assist the British war effort. The three women became Voluntary Aid Detachment nurses and headed to France in September 1915. Clarice began writing a diary, initially full of expectation and excitement as she prepared to leave her Ramsgate home. The record of her journey soon darkened as she became witness to the horrors unfolding on the Western Front.
Discovering Clarice’s diary in her parent's attic, artist Dawn Cole was fascinated to learn she had a great aunt who took a fit of fancy and headed to France. Winner of the V&A prize at the international print biennale 2011, and shortlisted for 2013 Arts Foundation Award, Cole has been developing the ‘Resting Place’ project since the beginning of 2012. Using pillowcases as a representation of the suffering of Clarice’s charges, this live performance project draws in the viewer to consider aspects of the war more often left untold; from the viewpoint of a young woman on the frontline.
With funding from Arts Council England and Kent County Council, a series of live performances of contemporary movement and spoken word will accompany the laying out of the pillowcases in public spaces. The imagery will mirror the war graves of the Wimereux cemetery in France, near to where Clarice was posted, and where some of the men she nursed are buried.