Text and textiles are rooted together. There are threads of thought and stories interwoven.
From a professionally-trained textile designer, to earning a MFA in Sculpture, my work combines thoughtful methods and historical techniques of making while using messages from history to educate, organize, and empower students to communicate their stories through their art.
In a work called Subtext, I created edited versions of a book written and published in 1966 by Henrietta Buckminster titled, Women Who Shaped History.
The intention was to find a text that could be mediated: to express the ideas of a diary using the words in a historical account of notable women in the United States of America. It is an approach to gain wisdom and knowledge.
The book tells the story of six 19th and 20th-century women who were instrumental in attaining women’s rights. Borrowing language from this previously published text neutralizes it for a contemporary interpretation. The women illustrated in the text contributed to the education of women, the suffragist movement, the civil rights movement, and the advancement of women in the medical profession.
In this sculptural commentary using the book as the symbol of the importance of education, the identities Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Elizabeth Blackwell, Prudence Crandall, Harriet Tubman, Mary Baker Eddy, and Dorothea Dix, are obscured and another, more common story, is revealed.
This mediated text exposes layers of similarities of personality characteristics of women who have shaped history.
They used their lives in a useful, purposeful way.
The unifying characteristics: they lived in faith, had perseverance, tenacity, vision, and commitment to purpose. The impact of education is paramount in many of their pursuits and successes.
But each woman experienced her own pain, sorrow, struggle, insecurity, vulnerability, and marginalization. There is a scar, a flaw, an imperfection. There must be acceptance of this and the ability to sculpt around the scar. To plan it as it lies. Whatever the circumstance – use it for good purpose.
In my effort to distil the characteristics of these women, I selected lines from each page and masked them off with tape – strip by strip. The pages were then painted with chalkboard paint: reminiscent of the countless lessons learned in and out of the classroom. The transferring of knowledge and information empowers.
The universality of the book form is a methodology and commentary about feminine experience, rather than my singular voice.
These statements transcend time and individuality as timeless text illustrating experiences and emotions of women. Although steeped in anonymity, autobiographical references are reconfigured in this poetry of text. All artwork means something beyond the material and speaks of its maker.
My art now involves weaving meaning into cloth. I look for new ways to use materials and present forms in order to express the 21st century art I am creating at the loom.