SECOND LIFE

Each piece from the Second Life series includes an unfinished antique textile piece made in the 20th century by anonymous women. Considered hobby projects, these artifacts were each abandoned at various stages of completion. I documented each of them before beginning, researched their technique and place in history, and then transformed them into completed sculptures using elements of glass, textiles and mixed media. I began this series in 2009, 1 year before my son was born. Becoming a new parent and having a lack of time and funds ended up turning it into a much longer-term project than I anticipated. Because the project took many years to come to fruition, and in those years, I evolved and changed as a person, so did the work. The parameters of this project were relatively confining to begin with: The objects’ incompleteness was my road in. I started where my “collaborator” left off. I extracted the love, frustration, boredom, eccentricities, or whatever traces of this unknown person’s humanity that I could divine from the piece and I let these characteristics take the lead. This meant that I ended up being cautious/precious about the artifact, always wanting to respect the phantom people I was collaborating with. The earlier pieces tended to put aside parts of myself for the work to honour the original authors whose work I was bringing out of obscurity. However, over the course of the 11 years that it took to build this series, I noticed that my own story and politics kept pushing themselves into the narrative. I realised that working with these artifacts was not just about other people’s stories, but also about mine, which most often stood in stark contrast to theirs. Conveying my complexity as an ever evolving middle aged, white, non-binary, queer artist and caregiver living in 21st century became important and took up more space in the work. My parameters have therefore changed: their incompleteness is still my road in, they still include the celebration the “mundane” and address the history of women's work and their lack of place in the art world. They still cross the boundaries that continue to persist between art and craft, the young and elderly, technology and handmade, and between traditional techniques and conceptual art practices but they also engender more personal ideas to do with my own biography - parenthood, gender expression, sexualities, climate change, family history, colonialism and more. It was this re-orientation that gave longevity to the series I present to you, and that I call my Second Life.

Artefacts. 2019
Artefacts. 2019

Portraits of each unfinished anonymous project as found before transforming them. Framed digital prints on archival paper. Variable dimensions.

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Original Artifact for Non Binary
Original Artifact for Non Binary

Ink-jet photo of an incompleted tea towel from the 1960's

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Non Binary. 2019
Non Binary. 2019

A digitally embroidered rendering of my 10yr old son’s drawing, hand embroidery on an unfinished anonymous embroidery project. 28” x 20” x 1.75”

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Original Artifact for Pillow Talk
Original Artifact for Pillow Talk

Ink-jet photo of an incomplete pillow project from the 1940's.

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Pillow Talk. 2019
Pillow Talk. 2019

An unfinished anonymous embroidered pillow project from the 1960’s, digital embroidery, flame worked glass, cotton, vinyl and a vintage bed sheet. 49.5” x 49.5” x 2.75”

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Pillow Talk.
Pillow Talk.
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Pillow Talk.
Pillow Talk.

Detail

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Pillow Talk.
Pillow Talk.

Detail

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Pillow Talk.
Pillow Talk.

Detail

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Pillow Talk.
Pillow Talk.

Detail

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Pillow Talk.
Pillow Talk.

Detail

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Pillow Talk.
Pillow Talk.

Gallery View

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Artifact for No Seat at the Table
Artifact for No Seat at the Table

Ink-jet photo of incomplete seat covers that my paternal grandmother made in the 1960's

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No Seat at the Table. 2019.
No Seat at the Table. 2019.

No Seat at the Table. 2019. Two unfinished embroideries for chairs made by my paternal grandmother, blown and sandblasted glass. Variable dimensions (panels: 17.5” x 24” x 1.75” each).

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No Seat at the Table.
No Seat at the Table.
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No Seat at the Table.
No Seat at the Table.
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Artifact for WWWI
Artifact for WWWI

Ink-jet photo of an incomplete decorative panel from the 1960's made by an anonymous person.

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WWW1 (World Wide Welcome 1) 2019.
WWW1 (World Wide Welcome 1) 2019.

Digital embroidery on an unfinished anonymous embroidery project and matching fabric, scrap wood. 72” x 78”

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WWW1 (World Wide Welcome 1)
WWW1 (World Wide Welcome 1)

Detail

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WWW1 (World Wide Welcome 1)
WWW1 (World Wide Welcome 1)

Detail

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WWW1 (World Wide Welcome 1)
WWW1 (World Wide Welcome 1)

Detail

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WWW1 (World Wide Welcome 1)
WWW1 (World Wide Welcome 1)

Detail

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Original artifact for "Nights Off"
Original artifact for "Nights Off"

Ink-jet print on archival paper. An early 1900's unfinished purse making project made by an anonymous woman.

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Night's Off. 2018
Night's Off. 2018

An unfinished anonymous early 1900’s purse project, digital embroidery, hand embroidery, crystals, digitally printed fabric, flame worked glass, chain, loose threads, spools and an enlarged re-creation of a wooden clothes drying rack. 100” x 61” x 33” (Woodwork: John Tinholt.)

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Night's Off. detail
Night's Off. detail
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Night's Off. detail
Night's Off. detail
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Night's Off. detail
Night's Off. detail
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Night's Off. Gallery view
Night's Off. Gallery view
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Original Artifact for "Swallowed"
Original Artifact for "Swallowed"

Ink-jet print of an early 1950's unfinished embroidery project or perhaps a sampler made by an anonymous person.

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Swallowed. 2019
Swallowed. 2019

An abandoned unfinished anonymous embroidery project, flame worked glass, digital and hand embroidery, ink and fabrics. 43” x 57’ 1.5”

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Swallowed
Swallowed

The population of North American barn swallow has for the last 30 years, been on a rapid and steep decline.

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Swallowed
Swallowed

Detail

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Swallowed
Swallowed

Detail

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Swallowed
Swallowed

Detail

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Swallowed
Swallowed

Detail

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Swallowed.
Swallowed.

Gallery view

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Original Artefact for "Hooked"
Original Artefact for "Hooked"

Ink-jet print of a 1930's unfinished anonymous vintage Eaton rug project.

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Hooked. 2016
Hooked. 2016

Fused window glass, wool and flame worked glass on an unfinished anonymous vintage Eaton rug project. 28" x 54 x 20"

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Hooked.
Hooked.

Detail

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Hooked. Detail
Hooked. Detail

Two foot prints left unfinished acts as a metaphor for the notion that there is always room for self growth. The glass panel is a gentle shoreline, a placid wave, a horizon toward another realm, a place where one is allowed to unhook, unravel, unleash themselves.

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