From the artist: My work addresses the vital and fleeting qualities of human contact. It investigates the possibility of immortality, the commemoration of touch, and the thresholds between others and...
My work addresses the vital and fleeting qualities of human contact. It investigates the possibility of immortality, the commemoration of touch, and the thresholds between others and myself. Exploring the potential for textiles to record and preserve our connection to others, my work questions the fragility and resilience of both the human body and our connections to each other. I make objects that address the vulnerability and self-preservation negotiated during human interaction.
Often those offered the most protection are not the most vulnerable. My series of fashionable safety vests and home goods created with bullet-proof Kevlar material is in response to the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting. In an effort to protect my own community, this new work is focused the safety of LGBTQ people, but it recognizes the need for all people to feel safe while expressing their individuality. This work questions who is valued in our contemporary American society and who has the privilege of being protected—physically, politically, and emotionally.
The Bulletproof Home Goods series is inspired by participants from the Queer Kevlar Vest series who revealed that they felt safest at home. Home is a place where we can be our authentic selves, unburdened by the judgement of the outside world. Some of our families (our first sense of “home”) accept us for who we are, while some of us build new families and work to create a sense of “home.” The concept of a “home” that is safe becomes even more charged in the age of coronavirus and in the face of racial inequality.
Doormats and curtains guard and cover the vulnerable thresholds of our homes. Much like our own skin, these objects are a first line of defense. Kevlar Lace Curtain, hand-woven using a thin spun Kevlar thread with gold thread embellishment, simultaneously offers softness and strength, vulnerability and security. Home Doormat, combining yellow Kevlar thread and fuzzy black acrylic yarn, reassures those who approach that they are entering a space meant to be safe and welcoming.
Textiles bear the scars of our encounters and absorb our experiences. I purposefully create textile objects like Queer Rag Rug to document my personal connections to others. Queer Rag Rug uses sturdy Kevlar thread as its warp, but the weft is a compilation of strips of fabric harvested from clothing worn and donated by those in my Asheville queer community. Kevlar is strong—fireproof and cut-resistant—but an even greater strength made of pride and resilience comes from within my own community. This textile object adds to an ongoing catalog of the people in my life and my persistent efforts to hold on to those tenuous connections.