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Myrllen's coat

Heard, Catherine (2009) Myrllen's coat. The Brock Review, 10 (2). pp. 38-60. ISSN 1188-9071


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In 1948, a schizophrenic woman admitted to the Eastern State Hospital in Knoxville,
Tennessee, began shredding rags into coloured thread and begging hospital staff to give her a sewing
needle. In the space of seven years, she created several garments, densely embroidered with images
and glossolalic text. Ward notes dismissively summarized, “She sews without purpose…is nonproductive”.
In 1955 she was medicated with the newly developed drug, chlorpromazine, and
stopped sewing. Over the years, most of the works were lost –– along with the medical records of
their creator, who is known by the pseudonym, “Myrllen”. Today, only two artifacts remain: a scarf,
which hangs in Lakeshore Mental Health Center in Knoxville; and a coat, preserved in the Tennessee
State Museum. My research is the first academic study of these artifacts, which are virtually
unknown outside of Tennessee and Maryland.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Art by the Insane, Asylum art, embroidery, Outsider Art
Divisions: Faculty of Art
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2016 20:52
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2021 16:45
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/1313

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