“Child, Please” (2021) is an iron and leather sculptural piece created using an image from the print series, “Just A Crown: Reimagining 40 of the Crowns/Personalities Worn by Black Women During Their Lifetime”. In this image we see the point of exhaustion that a woman reaches in managing the relationship with other women or younger siblings. The “last nerve” has been exhausted, but a momentary breath or prayer is most likely the cure to reset things and give the person another round of chances.
16in circular armature x 12in base
Laser engraved Leather pyrography original image, hammered iron armature, Ochre African string beads and leather strapping
- I am using a photograph from a family album of an unnamed woman with a look on her face that matches the emotional claim of the title, “”Child, Please”. Growing up in a large household with women, sisters, female relatives, friends, neighbor, Church members, etc were frequent studies. The toll of emotional travails was a constant companion to my Grandparent’s household and I took constant notice. Occasionally, a wall of being fed up with another person’s faultiness would cause a challenge in that delicate balance of caring. In those instances a fair-minded, well grounded and staunch hearted person would shut down the conversation with a stern frown and slit eyes, accompanied by a stiff-necked “wait-a-minute” hand raised to shut the other person’s woe-is-me dialogue. Everybody within a four house range would be stilled as the words rolled over the conversation and out from every open window and screened door: “Child, Please!” It would often be followed by, “That’s about enough of that!” and “I ain’t no fool, Gurl. You don’ worked my last nerve with this foolishness!”
- The “crown” here is designed as if it were a perennial flower; ready and certain to return and bloom. A consistent and ever-present friend and companion.
The rounded leather shape is representative of the ongoing, circular nature of dealing with a thing or person in a continuum. Friendship carry a measure of cyclical endurance. We watch and listen thru each other’s growths and declines and eventually develop worn out places in our relationships; a place where we hold back on the surface but underneath we harbor a sensitive reluctance to say what we really know needs to be said. I’ve placed that worn out nerve on the left side because it is hidden from the person creating it from our right hand side; a residing place of that “Good Angel” and because once it is triggered we are prone to “go left” or come from an unfamiliar position.
To create this strained look in the leather I scrapped it, then burned it and treated it with oil and recovery lotions and followed that with a stint in the Texas Summer sun to dry out. Over the life of this piece that crumbling effect will continue
- One of the enduring qualities of friendship is taking on the burden of a pressing life of a friend. Ochre is the oldest known natural pigment in the world. In African cultures ochre is used to protect the wearer from the harshness of the sun and insects. In this context the ochre color on a relatively endless string of beads invites the religious practice of counting prayers..
Remaining in the concept of circular or recurring conditions the frame here is a hammered iron armature. Not only does it represent the ongoing and returning factors of a friendship, but it also represents how that repetition leaves its’ mark. The iron is used to represent, not necessarily indicate, a enduring and accepting quality of the relationship. In some ways the hammered effect resembles welts or bruising left behind.
Leather is almost always used to indicate strength. In this piece there are two instances of leather and they both are representative of strength: the image is drawn into the leather and declares the person’s strength in holding true to the friendship; secondly, the image is held within the battered, iron armature with knotted leather strapping in three positions. The significance of three positions is to indicate a full life experience between the subjects: birth-life-death. Furthermore, the significance of the leather strapping being knotted on both sides of the iron armature is to declare the commitment of being on both sides of the things or moments that will cause division. As declared previously, hammering away at the strong parts can be the cause of pitting and welts. The knots say, “Yes, you are worth returning to…even if you work my last nerve”.
Child, Please -Sculptural Art
“Child, Please” (2021) is an iron and leather sculptural piece with ochre string beads