R. Melinda Hoffman: Accoutrements of Domesticity

R. Melinda Hoffman is known for transforming antique functional objects into jewelry and other wearables. This installation demonstrates on a large scale the artist’s fascination with domestic tools as “anthropological artifacts” symbolizing traditional ideals of womanhood. Employing found vintage items including vegetable steamers, bootlace hooks, measuring spoons, a cherry pitter, and a calf weaner, Hoffman recasts these objects as armor and weapons that puncture entrenched paradigms of gender and class.


Grounding the installation is Three Graces, a triptych that contradicts the soft, passive beauty represented by the namesake figures in Greek mythology. Recreating these characters with prickly metal objects, Hoffman challenges the regressive notion that youth, mirth, and elegance are intrinsic to femininity.

- Isabella, Beroutsos, Curator


For years, I have been collecting vintage gadgets, tools, and hardware. I take them out of context by presenting them as personal adornments to wear in a beautiful new way.

My materials for this installation are household gadgets and tools from an era when women were valued by how well they managed the home. These items are modern anthropological artifacts turned into humorous, intriguing, provocative, and controversial accessories.


My goal is to start a conversation and invite you to explore your own interpretation of these accoutrements, express your own meaning, and tell your own story.

- R. Melinda Hoffman