Artist Statement

Moving to the west coast for a period of time provided the catalyst for me to investigate growing up in a rural community near Baltimore, Maryland. Being apart from my close-knit family and community, I began to reflect on how my father and brothers and their blue-collar garage culture shaped my identity as a woman. The environment I grew up in had clearly defined gender roles that went along with our blue-collar status.When I searched through family photos and videos, I noticed the differences between my three brothers and myself. They wore blues and reds and I wore pinks and pastels. They got guns for Christmas and I got a doll.

My work is an exploration of the rural, blue-collar garage culture with its objects, symbols, behaviors and values, as well as the formative experiences of feminine homemaking work, that continues to influence my identity as a woman.

In my work I employ car parts, repair and customization, as well as crochet needlework, all which were passed down to me by members of my family and community. For me crochet stands as a symbol of feminine domestic work and the rebuilding of cars stands for a blue-collar masculinity. The customization of cars is similar to the decorative use of crochet needlework in that both are beautifying objects of everyday use such as engines and blankets.

In combining crochet and car parts I have composed a binary of masculine and feminine material language where the materials represent social constructions of gender drawn from my memories. By combining various mediums, I give the viewer a personal, sculptural and cultural entry into my blue-collar experience. The garage has a culture all its own and reflective of the gender and socio-economic roles in society, every car and part carries its own function and level of status.