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After a middleclass childhood spent beading, sewing, knotting, drawing, cross-stitching, and paper snowflake snipping, I have developed a vested interest in the use of materials often relegated to the category of craft. Personal associations with craft begin at an early age when we are first handed a bottle of Elmer’s glue. Our craft materials, as our motor skills and social awareness, are later pushed towards more refined exercises. While most people were raised making crafts, once grown they only seem to dabble during holidays or on special occasions so that many people who craft, like attending church, could be called Easter and Christmas crafters. Artist Mike Kelley, himself interested in craft associations, said, “In my working-class background, the most invisible things were crafts.” It is the invisibility of craft materials that make them such strong social signifiers—they have, until recently, rarely been examined for ethnographic significance, but the overwhelming presence of craft materials and activities in America make them ripe with associative meaning.
Using materials capable of referencing broad life experiences—from childhood naivety or giggling sorority girl activities to domestic practices of adulthood—my work is created with the identifiable patterns, surfaces, and textures of craft works. To counteract and confuse the reading of craft media, I use these materials in exaggerated self-portraits that humorously meld my common life experience with art historical references. This amalgam of narrative art historical imagery, utterly mundane contemporary objects, and staged scenes from my own life are carefully rendered using craft store glitter. Multiple images of myself within these works allows me to play a variety of roles common to the
contemporary female expressed through the lens of art historical subjects. My intention in juxtaposing fantastical art postures with mundane feminine roles and base materials of crafting with refined obsession of art making, is to investigate the wit and grace which is capable of rising from the banal and ordinary.