Friday, April 29, 2011
"48", monoprint, variable edition, 1/16, 24" x 6"
I took a survey recently of women who own silverware asking:
1. What is your silverware pattern?
2.Why did you choose it?
3. When did you choose it?
4.Did the women in your family have a silverware pattern? If so, which one and when did the tradition begin?
5.What do you think the pattern says about you?
6.How many pieces do you have? Does it matter?
The majority answered all of the questions,with vigor and originality, with the exception of one question: When did the tradition begin? Some gave an estimated guess, but no one knew for sure who had started the tradition they carry on today and will most likely pass on to their own children.
The work above is a print that I did in response to the survey. I off-set three different etched copper plates, alternating plates, and ran them each through the press forty-eight times, printing on top of each other. Forty-eight is not a significant number, but it was simply the point where I stopped being able to see the forks clearly through all the prints, and the point where I began to lose my place with the forks- the action itself had begun to be so repetitive.
Monday, April 25, 2011
"Down the Line", india ink on paper, 15" x 22", 2011
As I explained in my last post, silverware is traditionally passed through the women of the family, to continue the maternal line of the family to the woman's new family. However, while that may hint at feminist undertones, the tradition of silverware is not (historically) feminist at all. In the late 20th century, when silver was easily accessible to multiple classes in the United States, the dining room was considered to be the center of entertainment for the family's guests, and a man would showcase his family's wealth and status through the family's silver collection (Of course, it was his wife's pattern that the he would collect).
The layered knives in the piece above explores the man's role in silverware. While the spoon was considered to represent a woman, with it's curves that mimic a swollen womb, the knife is phallic in shape and signifies both power and authority (Consider Thanksgiving: The one who carves the turkey is traditionally the alpha of the family). The layered knives, all of different patterns, explore what the tradition of collecting silverware would look like if it was passed through the men of the family- down the line, if you will.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
"Maternal Line", India Ink on Paper, 22" x 18", 2011
Let me begin by saying that spooning is not what you think. It was not created on a college campus, nor does it have quite the sexual innuendo that most people today lend it (my apologies for any vernacular adjustments hastily being made).
In fact, the term spooning was created in the 18th century to describe the tradition of
Welsh and Dutch brides receiving a collection of spoons before their marriage, in preparation for their hosting duties that often called for more spoons for serving fruit, dessert, and ice (in fashion at the time). Spoons were also given to these brides to commemorate the sacrament of Matrimony, a custom that lead to the colloquial term “spooning”. Most importantly, spoons were given to the bride by her family, to continue the maternal line into her own family.
I created "Maternal Line" in the aftermath of the death of my maternal grandmother and my approaching wedding day. The layered ink washed drawings of spoons belong to the married women in my maternal family; a spoon with coordinating pattern for each. I wanted to see what a tradition looked like, all together, binding so many families and so many generations. What happens when a spoon is added? Taken away?