Before Christmas I was shopping around at Turnip Green Create Reuse when I spotted some handwritten recipe cards. I'm not sure exactly how old they are, but with recipes like "Mary Edna's Chop Suey" and "Cherry Jello Mold" I'm going to guess 1960s.
When I got them I knew that I wanted to paint on top of them and that I wanted to experiment with guache, since that is what my current artist crush Ryan Heshka uses in his work. I rushed over to Plaza to purchase some and realized that it would be a bigger investment than I initially thought, so I opted for a cheaper set to experiment with. After returning home I quickly realized that guache, maybe more specifically this very very cheap guache, was not for me. The texture wasn't so bad, but the smell was absolutely awful and the colors were dull and dark. I felt very discouraged and my dreams for the little recipe cards were fading.
During the rest of my holiday I took a break from my artwork and spent it mostly soaking up nostalgic sights and sounds of my hometown. For everything I didn't like about Southern Illinois growing up, there was something that I really loved. Hometowns can do that to you. In college when I was creating work it was all inspired by my childhood, my family, and Southern Illinois.
Growing up I was given a great appreciation for textile craft by my grandmother and my piano teacher, Pam (my aunt's mother-in-law!). They are both incredibly skilled in creating meaningful and well-crafted textile pieces. My grandmother taught me how to embroider, cross stitch, rug-hook, and applique, while Pam tried to teach me how to quilt (but it didn't take). These ladies and their craft really inspired me and I cannot shake that love of American craft that they have given me!
This past weekend while getting dressed I looked down at the quilt on my bed that Pam had made me as a wedding gift and an idea jumped into my mind so suddenly that I had to spring to the living room to get it started. I finally had an idea for my recipe cards.
In my work I explore female stereotypes through memory, popular culture, and gender norms. These paper collage quilt squares are made of materials that are typically regarded as feminine including recipe cards and décor books. Through this exploration of materials and subject matter I hope to encourage the viewer to acknowledge the stereotypes of female craft or "women's work" while also celebrating the craftsmanship and soul of the items these women created.
I'm so incredibly excited about these new pieces and can't wait to continue pursuing this concept! Sometimes ideas hit you when you least expect it!