Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Artwork

Immediately when I think of birth or rebirth I think of cocoons. I think of the constant eating of a caterpillar, much like how babies have the need to feed and be fed. Caterpillars grow fat and happy, then soon will develop into a cocoon. The transformation from caterpillar to butterfly is where I sit, fascinated by nature's creation and recreation of the insect. My final project is much like the process in which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. I, like nature, first mold happy, little fat cocoons, paint them, hang them and then create the paper chrysalises that are left behind with the words of women who speak of the childfree lifestyle. Upon surveying 20 women about the childfree lifestyle, I felt that creating cocoons that would represent all women, who choose to have or not have children in their lifetime was an interesting and unique decision. Each cocoon can stand alone or be a part of the larger group, much like women who decide to be childfree. The bands of colors signify the individual characteristics of women but the uniform and repetitive shape of the cocoons make the group of represented women stronger and bound together. The braids that hold the cocoons together are reminiscent of the umbilical cord that once bound us to our mothers and could bind us to our children. Because most of the research on the childfree lifestyle is based on the choices of women in their personal and professional lives, I thought it fitting to include the statements of those participants of my survey as words of wisdom for the remaining cocoons and for the viewer. Since deciding to live childfree is in fact a choice, women everywhere can appreciate that we indeed have the power to make the choice and can live full and happy lives based on our decisions.

Untitled, 2011

Photos Courtesy of Lisa Barnshaw

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Process of the Artwork

Inspiration for the Artwork:

The monarch butterfly cocoon

Using air dry clay, I roll 2 inch balls of clay and mold them into individual cocoons. I form the stem by pinching the clay into a point and making an indentation around the top of the cocoon. I let the cocoons dry on newspaper for a day and a half, then paint and hang.

I lay the molded cocoons on newspaper to dry evenly.

I've painted to cocoons to give each a unique look. In all, I created over 200 cocoons that will be incorporated into the finished piece.

One bunch of cocoons.

I then begin to hang the bunches of cocoons together to create a huddled mass.

The cut string, once containing a solid cocoon will be soon holding a paper chrysalis.

The paper cocoons act as a form of Chrysalis that contains the words of participants that I surveyed for my final thesis.