Hold yourself together is suggestive of the tension that exists in the emotional reckoning and restructuring that is required during a paradigm shift like the one #metoo has inspired.
Women know all too well the societal importance of maintaining composure in the face of objectification, discrimination, injustice, harassment, abuse … and even progress. Whether conscious or subconscious it is a mantra that women have lived by. Hold yourself together – even if you are ripped open, even if you are in danger, even if you are not heard … even when you succeed.
The pieces also suggest the need to be open while in this tensile state, stitching together a new section where the solid has been broken. Holding yourself together requires self-care, welcoming in energy while also being able to also release it. It can be viewed as a singular or collective narrative where the trauma of the past can become fertile ground for constructing a better future. Strength in numbers can mean that we hold each other together and move beyond composure to speaking up, speaking out and speaking about the nuances of change required to bring equity and equality to women in our society.
As I delve into working with a new medium (metal) I am drawn back to my first love (weaving.) During my 100 days of metal exploration I tried combining the technique of raising flat sheets of metal into a vessel form and utilizing metal wire to weave an airy extension of the bowl. Unknowingly, as I wove the test piece from the concave side, when I flipped it over the form resembled a bosom.
The word bosom has several definitions that make this accidental reference powerful and relevant to my current work. Not just a woman's chest, but part of a woman's dress covering the chest - 'a space between a person's clothing and chest used for carrying things'. Literary uses of bosom reference loving care and protection, as well as the bosom being the seat of emotions. This Bosom Bowl is both a vessel that holds my emotions as a female artist today and (thanks to the fact that it is made from metal) suggests that it protects and strengthens my ability to access and express those emotions through my art. Symbolic of strength, solidarity and the literal and figurative armor that women wear every single day
Symbolizing the growth and transformation (metamorphosis) that I have been actively working through the last three years as I expand beyond being a working interior designer and jewelry-maker and grow into my encompassing artistic voice. Different from the natural changes that occur over time, it takes committed effort to stretch and to grow beyond the confines of one’s current existence, capacity, and identity. It takes endurance, self-awareness and grace to stretch that cocoon wall. Daily practice and regular small movements propel me forward in the direction of my intention. I am breaking through.
“Three Sixty Five” solo exhibition at the American Swedish Institute June 30- August 7, 2018. Minneapolis, MN