I created this body of work through an artist residency called RAIR in Northeast Philadelphia, located at a construction demolition waste recycling facility (called Revolution Recovery). Inspired by the idea of being stranded on an island, dependent on one's ingenuity and resourcefulness for survival, I constructed a 17' flat bottom boat that I rowed down the Delaware River.
I find the subjects of human birth and the tools used to assist in birthing a provocative subject for investigation. It is interesting how such an undeniably important event is a marginalized subject of history. I am particularly interested in the birthing chair and it’s place in historical practices of parturition.
I am working on creating a physical time line of the history of birthing chairs, to bring into existence a physical replication of the material history of the birthing chair, marking the physical changes that reflect the evolution of thought and cultural ideologies surrounding birth.
My interest to create this body of work is to uncover the forgotten material culture of women, to question cultural myths surrounding birth and to give historic context to our contemporary understanding of the birthing process.
The Servant Question
Reflections on the collections at Winterthur
My residency at Winterthur led me beyond the objects in the collection and drew me into the stories behind the objects and architecture. I became captivated by Henry Francis DuPont’s passions to collect objects and how his fervor and means led him to amend build additions to the architectural structure of Winterthur, creating the 175–room museum that we know today. I became fascinated with how the place operated before it became a museum, and what was erased and removed in the transition from home to a public museum.
My intrigue led me to learning what it took to maintain the 175- room home, and how that history was folded under and into the magic that we are swept through today.
Taking inspiration from DuPont’s vision and ability to amend architectural spaces and elements to fit into his home and needs, I set out to do something similar. I created an attic space of a 1790 house’s, presented in the basement of the Chris White Gallery Space. Some of the elements are authentic, borrowed from the attic I replicated. It is a space that viewers can enter and experience, much like the period rooms at Winterthur. My intention to bring these two liminal spaces together was to acknowledge the forgotten, often utilitarian spaces of the home, as well as acknowledge the histories where domestic servants would have resided and worked.
I also created several furniture objects in response to pieces in the collection. Intrigued by furniture that has dual functions and or idiosyncratic constructions, I created my own versions of “Day Bed,” “Tilt-top Commode Table,” “Peep-Show,” and “DuPont Circle Quilt.” I hope that these works offers a new way to enter into thinking about the collections at Winterthur, honoring the mesmerizing quality of the place, while questioning the many layers that it embodies.
"Two-Seater (outhouse with two seats facing one another )," Douglas fir, corrugated tin, plastic buckets, 7.5’ X 6’ X 30” 2011
“Tilt-Top Commode Table,” Salvages solid core door, plywood and hardware, plastic salad bowl, 30” X 48” X 36” 2012
"Kiddie Commode" painted plywood and plastic bowl, 8" X 13" X 13" 2012
Log Cabin Closet
I constructed three wooden dovecotes for the Southern Chester County Sculpture Trail. The designs were inspired by traditional regional architecture. Celebrating the beauty of the agrarian history of Chester County while recreating a lost historic practice.
A dovecote is a large birdhouse used in the cultivation of Doves and Pigeons, dating back to as early as AD 256 Egypt. Doves were among the earliest domesticated animals by man, along with bees. Dovecote provided “a source of meat, eggs, down, fertilizer, and even gun-powder.” They were constructed in this country, predominately in Virginia by British settlers in the seventeenth century, not only as a food source, but also “as an architectural marvel, an eye-catcher, a thing of beauty.” Relatively large, they could house up to one thousand nesting boxes, or as few as ten.
In Crysler's Memory
On my initial visit to the UD Botanical Gardens I was struck by its location. Positioned parallel to South College Ave, there is no escape from the sound of endless traffic. The noise drew me to the perimeter of the garden, where I looked across the street to discover the vacant lot where the Chrysler Plant had been, but is no longer. In fact, there is absolutely no visual trace or marking of its once existence.
I felt compelled to address this absence of industry and significant location where so many people invested much of their lives. The place where we go to work every day, year after year, becomes part of us. The people we work with become our community, built on the common ground of income earning, production and shared life experiences. I wanted to offer a place to sit and acknowledge this absence, this loss.
I have placed several Chrysler car trunks in the garden, directed toward the vacant parking lot that once housed the 3.4 million square foot automobile plant. The trunks act as benches and welcome garden visitors to sit on them and take a moment to consider the loss of over 2000 peoples livelihood and communal identity, as well as the loss of industry in the Newark, DE community.