Skin, a piece I worked on, on and off, for nine years. It is a life size woman’s skin made from approximately 400,000 tiny glass beads and nylon thread; it hangs from the ceiling like a garment on molded acrylic shoulders. It was incredibly labour intensive to make as each bead could only be added one at a time.
The process by which the piece was constructed speaks to the labour and seeming invisibility of women’s work as well as the way in which bodies are built from conception right through life cell by cell. There is no head as this is not a portrait but much more of a kind of garment that perhaps the viewer could visualize being worn. The ‘shed’ skin has a reptilian reference that ties into ideas about Eve, the serpent and the awareness of nakedness that came with knowledge from the forbidden fruit, linking it to paradise and the garden which is how I see it as relating to my more recent flower based work.
Skin 2003-2012. 42 x 23 x 170 cm, approx. 400,000 glass beads, nylon thread, acrylic armature.
Photos: Steve Farmer, courtesy the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; Toni Hafkenscheid, courtesy Canadian Clay Clay & Glass Gallery.