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.
Photos Courtesy of Lisa Barnshaw