Updated: Jan 17
The inspiration for this piece came from women in Mayan culture, where weaving is passed down from mother to daughter and is the primary way women contribute to their families economic income and general wealth.
Due to the fragile nature of this piece and the stress on each of the joints, I wasn't expecting it to come out of the kiln complete, as I had put it in. The majority of the outer pieces had broken off, leaving the piece unevenly weighted and with a slump to the heavier side. I like that this piece didn't survive the kiln, I think its representative of women's roles - broken. If women go to work, they're seen as bad mothers and neglecting their homes and families. If women choose to stay at home, they're seen as old-fashioned housewives reinforcing negative and outdated stereotypes, also not contributing to the households income and relying on their partner for economic wealth. No matter what women do its seen in a negative light and they're 'doing it wrong'.
A very enlightening book I read on this subject was 'Invisible Women' by Caroline Criado-Perez. It highlights the data bias between men and women and how the whole world has been designed for men. This broken ceramic piece feels representative of that: although the majority of it did survive and the main part is whole, the kiln was a harsh environment and broke off the edges, leaving it wonky and 'imperfect'. Although this piece was only intended as a sculpture to begin with, now with the ends broken it's perceived as a failure, despite the harsh conditions of the kiln making it near to impossible for it to have come out whole anyway.
I want to keep the broken pieces as a part of the piece, displaying them in a pile next to the remaining form. This shows the journey its gone through and the failures its had, but displaying them as part of its successes, rather than hiding them away and classifying the whole object as a fail. It tells a story of women's experiences, how a world designed for men is harsh and difficult to succeed in.
I considered glazing this piece but decided against it as I want to keep the raw, rough texture of the stoneware. To me this represents the harsh reality of a world designed for men, with many 'breaking' along the way (both women and men being negatively impacted by the patriarchy) with the raw ceramic being a nakedness that shows our individual vulnerabilities to this.