Portfolio > Beware the JubJub Bird

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Beware the Jub Jub Bird and Shun is a series of sculptures and works on paper made with found and handmade materials. It is a series about my day job as a nanny and my struggles with my health. The title comes from the nonsense poem Jabberwocky from Alice in Wonderland.

I collect toys and domestic objects and arrange them into continuously evolving, provisional sculptural installations. I order these collections of to fill walls with abstract arrangements that get reordered and repurposed into an evolving series of assemblages. Some of the pieces present interactive elements such as noise makers, musical instruments, or functional smoking pipes that offer other avenues for tactile experience. There is a fetish of the objects, a nostalgic reminiscence followed by the desire to reject the subscribed narrative of use.

My process incorporates my observations as a domestic worker. I am interested in the way children play (work), explore, and arrange to make sense of their world. Children desire order and find play through process, not product. From birth, before they can speak, they understand language and desire to communicate through the tools their caregivers have demonstrated. These observations offer insight into possibilities for mental and emotional growth and healing. Through play as a performative act, I hope to reconnect to a much earlier state of being, where every object and space becomes a staging area for potential play.

Working with children I am able to test out certain ideas of how objects transcend normal usage, like how silicone basting brushes can be a child’s favorite gumming toy, a wallet filled with playing cards can entice a variety of ages, or large colorful wooden beads tied to silky tassels is soothing to manipulate. It is fascinating and brings me joy to watch children play with the toys I create. I observe them and film their reactions to expand and improve upon each situation.

I am also thinking about my own health concerns. For years past, I have had mobility issues and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in addition to behavioral health diseases. One sculpture is a wagon seems to be providing support for a broken mobility device that just needed some wheels. Other pieces grow from the floor weighted down by a hefty slab of clay that doubles as a smoking pipe. Here I am thinking about my own struggles with health care, when I did use multiple mobility devices for years, and the effect my health problems have had on my decision making in the materials and tools I use.

In addition to toys I use other domestic materials such as baking racks, hangers, and dish racks as symbols of what is also typically thought of as women’s work. The racks are mounted to the walls often framing (or trapping) paintings on paper. Many of my sculptures are meant to be interacted with. A baking pan organizer holds a rubber brain is inflated by an active viewer and an adult may smoke cannabis out of one of the abstract ceramic smoking pipes hiding in plain view.