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"A Pedestal for Women to Stand On" was a feminist position. As a jeweler, silversmith, and metalsmith, I'd been fighting expectation about what women can do for years. As a educated women raising two small children it was difficult to find a professional identity.
In a recent interview on Charlie Rose with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, she referred to a pedestal for women to stand on and legal action required for gender equity.
"I thought of myself in those days as a teacher. My parents thought that teaching would be a good occupation for me because women were welcomed there and they weren't welcome as doctors, lawyers, engineers. I realized that I was facing an audience that didn't know what I was talking about. They understood race discrimination, that was odious, but most men at that time thought that yes, the law was riddled with gender-based distinctions, but they all operated benignly in women's favor. Like a woman didn't have to serve on a jury if she didn't want to. So that was a benefit. To get them to see, that says something about a woman as citizen, because a citizen has rights and obligations, obligations as well as rights. Men know they're a part, a central part of the citizenry because they can't escape civic duties. But women, they are expendable. We really don't need them. To get across that message that this pedestal that many men thought women were on, they were spared the necessity to earn a living, that was a myth because it was never true for poor women. To get them to see that what they regarded as favors in the wonderful expression that Justice Brennan used, the pedestal much more often than not turned out to be a cage because it confined women and limited what they could do. So to get the court to understand that there really was gender-based discrimination, that was a challenging -- a challenging job."
These "pedestals" also address issues of living in our consumer society. Colors, patterns, words and images are carefully chosen for their social comment and visual impact. The printed metal may not be as precious as gold or silver, but in many ways reveals more about the values of our society. Hopefully, this work transforms the viewers’ awareness of their participation as consumers and challenges complacency.
The quilt patterns used in this series of sculptures allude to the strong connection between traditional crafts, “women’s work” and the home. Quilts were historically one of the few creative outlets for women in our culture. The names for the other quilt patterns contribute important content to the work.
The colors, patterns, words and images are carefully chosen for their social comment and visual impact. The printed metal may not be as precious as gold or silver, but in many ways reveals more about the values of our society. Hopefully, this work transforms the viewers’ awareness of their participation as consumers and challenges complacency.