For a number of years I have been a member of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers, a group of artists that focuses on re-using cast off pieces of every day life to make work. My work features recurring themes of childhood and family connectedness versus individuality.
A couple of years ago, I was inspired to use found materials to make “jewelry” pieces for a show called MOTHERHOOD. I call them “Mom-Pieces,” and they can be worn or hung on the wall as “wall jewelry”! They’re shrines to motherhood in general, my mother in particular, and each has a photo of a mother looking right at you.
As you can tell by the name of the piece—"You're Still Too Young to Wear a Bra!"—I really had fun with this project.
At the opening, people came up to me, and with no preamble, would just blurt out things like “Always wear clean underwear!” and “Don’t talk with your mouth full!”, so I ran home from the show and used these phrases, along with my stash of Altoid tins, tiny dolls, 10-chains-for-a-dollar from the Salvation Army, and other objects, to make more “Mom-Pieces.”
My mother complained that she never said all those things, but what can I say? She still tells me to “Stand Up Straight!” And she definitely DOES say, “Because, I’m the mother, that's why!"