Social and historical preconceptions about male and female roles and relations to objects is one avenue that I find very fascinating. During the summer months I have been working at Greenfield Village in Dearborn,MI; I am a historic presenter who explains and experiences life from 1760 in Andover, CT and from 1885 in Columbiana County, OH. Each day in the village I am living the life of a women before the concept of feminism started. I absolutely love aspects of the time periods that I work in because of the separation from the caos and high tech relm of society today. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy technology; however, being able to unplug from that world for a few hours each day has opening my eyes to the more important aspects of life. The experiences also help me to appreciate the social and political advances women have made through the centuries.
Working with artifacts and old techniques in those houses, I have recently been fascinated by the invisible male and female markers on certain tools and materials. Fiber and textiles are very feminine both in their connection to the role that women have played in creating textiles throughout history and in the use of the material itself. Fiber and textiles are most often used in a flowing, delicate, and soft way. In contrast wood and metal have typically been used in structural, rigid, or powerful settings such as the construction of houses, tools, and machines. I am fascinated by the concept of understanding those preconceptions that we subconsciously associate with materials and using art to completely reverse those concepts in order to have people stop and think.
An artist that does a wonderful job with this type of material transformation is Cal Lane. Cal Lane creates breathtaking industrial lace by taking heavy industrial metal pieces such as oil cans, architectural pieces, and wheel barrows, cutting into them until they become light weight, airy and effortless through detailed cutouts of lace and maps.
Her website has some fabulous photos that you should all check out:
Cal Lane's Website
A good friend of mine recently wrote on her blog about Cal Lane after a great discussion that we had. Check that out too!