Explore Fiber is a collaborative website showcasing and exploring fiber as a fine art material.
A friend of mine sent me this image of Eliza Bennet’s work and I personally respond to in on several levels. Before I share my views on the art work, I want to share part of the artist’s statement with you. You can read the entire statement on her website. Here is part of the story behind this work:
A series of photographic works titled ‘A Woman’s Work is Never Done’ Using my own hand as a base material, I considered it a canvas upon which I stitched into the top layer of skin using thread to create the appearance of an incredibly work worn hand. By using the technique of embroidery, which is traditionally employed to represent femininity and applying it to the expression of its opposite, I hope to challenge the pre-conceived notion that ‘women’s work’ is light and easy. Aiming to represent the effects of hard work arising from employment in low paid ‘ancillary’ jobs, such as cleaning, caring and catering, all traditionally considered to be ‘women’s work’.
I have experienced my share of physical life work (home, work, hobby…) that has at times felt that my work as a woman was never done. But I can’t say that I have been engaged in hard work/low pay jobs. Being an art teacher is a pretty physical job, so I understand the idea of being bone tired after a long day. Bringing awareness to this concept of work is honorable.
And, I have experienced my share of stabbing my hands with needles in the many forms of fiber art I have produced in my life time since I was a young girl. It’s interesting when she discovered that she could catch the top layer of skin without much sensation and decided to embroider her hand. The physicality of her work is challenging for me. It bothers me to see her hand stitched up like it is. It looks painful, and I suppose that is one of the points of the piece. I suppose I have some notion that I might know what it might feel like to stitch my own hand, because of my life time of needle jabs, but can I really know?
Eliza – powerful, provocative, purposeful, physical, painful – wow. wow.