embroidered oven mitt creatures
2007 - 2009
paintings on canvas,
embroidered oven mitts
Women artists have long been relegated to the spheres of cooking and sewing as acceptable vehicles for their creativity. My grandmother, great aunts and many other women of their generation embroidered, crocheted and pulled hot trays of nut roll out of the oven, during a time when society and their families could see them as cooks and and “crafters” but not as artists.
I like to think that my embroidered oven mitts honor the memory of my grandmother’s cooking and fiber work, elevating it to fine art, if only in remembrance.
The embroidered oven mitts sprung out of a time when I didn’t have a formal art studio to paint, and instead found art that I could work on in my tiny apartment in New Mexico. I paint thickly, so I thought of the embroidery floss more as thick, layered, brushstrokes than thread. I have a dual love of theater and puppetry, so I chose to embroider oven mitts rather than pot holders, as they resembled moray eel puppets when given eyes and mouths.
When I finally had studio space again, I painted the portraits of these embroidered oven mitts. In another later series, I Photoshoped and then painted the images of the Oven Mitt Creatures into photos I took while traveling in France. The strange creatures imposed in the snapshots represented my feelings of alienation while living in a different country.
Before my grandmother passed away, I showed her the Embroidered Oven Mitt Creatures, worrying that she would think them (hence me) odd. Instead she smiled and admired their floral coats, eyeballs, and toothy grins.