Sewing has been a creative outlet of mine since childhood. Between my mother and my grandmother, I learned cross stitch, embroidery, and crochet, as well as how to operate a sewing machine. Now as a metalsmith, I enjoy the challenge of combining textiles with metals in a way that is balanced and gives traditional women’s craft a voice in contemporary mixed media sculpture.
Through the collar, my current work demonstrates the complex identity of woman as both oppressed and empowered. While feminist activism and social awareness have been instrumental in the advancement of an egalitarian society, the persistence of a patriarchal mindset that clouds views on women still exists today. By binding soft fabric with wire into either protruding or constricting forms, sometimes both, my work becomes a metaphor for subjugation. Integral to the work are the dichotomies of hard and soft, seduction and repulsion, protection and intimidation. This complexity parallels the multi-faceted aspect of the female experience.
The literal translation for the Latin word subjugatus is “under the yoke.”
The question that remains for the viewer is whether the wearer of the collar is in control-- or under it.