Between Abacuses and Teddy Bears

installation view; <i>Studies</i>, 15 x 11  ft, mixed media, 2009

installation view; Studies; 15 x 11 ft; mixed media; 2009

Posted by RUTH

Ed. Note: These images are from Commune Cohort, Ruth’s, graduate exhibition as she completed her Master’s degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art!  Congrats, Ruthie!  You made it!  Now go make beautiful things!

– Head Commune-ist

I was first drawn to metalsmithing as a means of making functional objects. It seemed that such things, given their routine use, were most likely to mean something in a person’s everyday life. I saw a tea party in a teapot, an engagement in a ring, and myself in a spoon. Each thing was more than an object—it was a symbol and representation of a group of people, an attachment between people, or an extension of myself. When I made these things, it was not what I created that made them valuable to me, but the people who would become invested in them.

detail; <i>Studies</i>; 11 x 10.5 x 6 in.; tracing paper, sterling silver; 2009

detail; Studies; 11 x 10.5 x 6 in.; tracing paper, sterling silver; 2009

Since then I have focused on a more general use of objects—how people use the abstract significance of a thing as a tool, toy, and model to understand and change their relationships and their environments. I draw from two types of objects: transitional objects, such as teddy bears, and controlled systems, such as abacuses.

detail; <i>Studies</i>; sterling silver, lead, stick graphite; 2009

detail; Studies; sterling silver, lead, stick graphite; 2009

Everyone knows what a teddy bear signifies. The conception is different for everyone, since everyone has a personal experience with a teddy bear, yet the form and image of a teddy bear is universally understood. As transitional objects, teddy bears offer a person a way to test the larger, uncontrollable environment or society. An abacus uses an abstracted language and exists in a nebulous context. The variables must be defined for every new calculation, but the system is small and easily manipulated. This work exists between abacuses and teddy bears.

detail; <i>Studies</i>; eyeglass lenses, jewelry boxes; 2009

detail; Studies; eyeglass lenses, jewelry boxes; 2009

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Published in: on June 13, 2009 at 7:57 PM  Leave a Comment  
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