PortfolioAssemblage – Stay-at-Home Angel (2013)

Created for “Angels” invitational in 2013 at Carnegie Arts Center, Covington KY

Who doesn’t romanticize the notion of parenthood before actually experiencing it? Who can anticipate the extent of self-sacrifice? A young woman in full maternal career – birthing and raising children – must metamorphose into something extraordinary. Treading murky waters of eternal tidying, surfing a hormonal tsunami, spun in a social whirlpool, collapsed on shores of exhaustion, trying to be everything – lover – homemaker – caregiver– playmate – disciplinarian. She who agrees to stay at home with the kids becomes either something demonic (heaven forbid) or truly angelic. Her ability to rise above (on wings of fresh laundry!) seals her place in heaven.

  • Stay-at-Home Angel is an assemblage with a glazed and painted hand-modeled ceramic body mask combined with Jan’s treasured family belongings.

  • Stay-at-Home Angel (13’ x 2’ x 7’) is a life-sized marionette with wings created by two clotheslines filled with baby laundry. The skirt is a patchwork of tissue paper dress patterns that belonged to Jan’s mother.

  • The apron is fashioned from four table napkins that belonged to Jan’s grandmother.

  • The body mask was created by coiling highfire clay into a plaster mould previously formed on a clay sculpture.

  • The backside niche of the body mask has been filed with household and parenting paraphernalia, evoking the day-to-day, year-to-year preoccupations of mothering.

  • The doll centerpiece of the back niche is one of Jan’s childhood treasures.

  • Drawings by Jan’s daughter Emilie and two grandsons, Bailey and Aiden, are suspended beneath the tissue dress pattern skirt.