Craft Research Fund—Artist Fellowship
The body of artwork developed for Suite Américaine will reference three historical American furniture forms designed and built specifically for use by women. It will expand on my previous investigations of a late seventeenth century dowry chest, by adding two additional forms that follow it chronologically, a mid-eighteenth century Queen Anne style lady’s writing desk, and a late eighteenth century federal lady’s worktable. I hope to interpret the three objects as proto-feminist furniture forms, investigating and celebrating a sense of female agency and empowerment they enabled through their function and use. The resulting work will consist of sculptural pieces addressing the social history of the furniture and the expressive work by female hands that it stored and facilitated, while also considering contemporary issues around women’s rights/human rights, gender identity, marriage and family structure, and boundaries and borders. In addition to exhibiting the artwork, I plan to engage the public through programming that includes presentations on the history of my reference material, performances, and hands-on workshops exploring text, language, and embroidery. This work will constitute a first-hand study and re-experiencing of furniture as historical evidence of American History—including and especially the untold, underrepresented, undocumented everyday stories it has to tell.