My work explores people’s interpretations of what is craft and what is fine art and questions why our society believes that craft is the lesser valid of the two. My work sits somewhere on the spectrum between folk art and fine art because I use knitting and crochet, media associated with women, domesticity to create installations and sculptures. Fiber crafts are historically female dominated whereas fine art is historically male dominated. I wonder if these gendered stereotypes still come into play when we think about the two today and if we think of textile crafts as less valid because they are still thought of as ‘women’s work’.
In my family there have been numerous generations of women who worked with a hook or needle. I learned to knit when I was a girl from my mom, she learned from her mom when she was a girl, who learned from her mom and so on and so fourth. With the skills passed on to me I explore the negative connotations associated with the words fiber, domestic and feminine in the context of fine art. I proudly portray this history of femininity and domesticity in my art and give voice to my female ancestors whose work was often overlooked because of their gender and their work’s title as craft.
My most recent work explores functionality in art. I became interested in this idea when I realized that functional and nonfunctional are usually paired with craft and art, respectively. Fiber has a certain approachability that clashes with arts usual rule of no touching but I have always agreed to when people ask me if they can touch my work. This new work, however, are the first pieces made specifically for that purpose. The function of these new works is to be explored through and played with. To be touched.