My work in the studio is a strikingly solitary experience. Everything is mute except for the hum of the AC, the slight rustling of the paper and the almost hypnotic “tink” sound as each fragile paper shape is removed from the composition with surgical precision and dropped in a tiny glass jar. The long spans of time I invest hunched over my paper cut pieces while making intricate repetitive motions recalls the hours my mother dedicated to delicately sewing and crocheting clothing, bedding and other items that sustained and enriched our lives. It is through this kinship that the meticulously handcrafted nature of my paper cuts celebrates the domestic arts and the western tradition of women’s work in crochet, embroidery and quilting. Amidst this celebration, however, subtle themes of violence and discontent woven throughout my visual narratives are all but obscured by the works’ profuse decorative quality. These suggestive elements reveal my conflicting relationship with domestic work in that I respect the history and skill, yet resent the societal expectation.
My paper cut pieces are informed by research in eastern craft traditions and recent travel to China, where paper cutting originated as an art practice used to appraise the merit of brides. My work seeks to pay homage to the global tradition of paper cutting as an art form while addressing the complex issue of feminine identity and valorizing devalued women’s labor. As a result these paper pieces explore feminine identity through a lens rooted in the liminal space between eastern/western craft and folk art and traditional/technological methodologies. Every year through the growth of communication and transportation technologies our world grows smaller and we become intimate with more distant and diverse cultures. My research into eastern and western craft seeks to explore the similarities in these practices and the symbolism of these traditions and shift our myopic focus to include the strengths and weaknesses inherent in our global heritage.