Material culture is a catalyst for interaction and communication among human beings. Fashion is at its root a universal language - a basic utilitarian need as well as a vehicle for social and cultural expression. Body adornment, though primarily a form of visual communication, is an art form that we engage with at a high level of intimacy - physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Though it is a language spoken many different ways and for many different purposes, it is understood through symbols and tactility, binding us together while simultaneously setting us apart. I strive to make work that connects us both literally and metaphorically, teaching us that familiarity and normativity is subjective. My work seeks to expand this subjectivity in my audience through examining objecthood as it pertains to aesthetics versus function.
My work is clothing as performative sculpture. The objects fulfill three roles: Ritual Catalysts, Functional Garments, and Aesthetic Objects. As ritual catalysts, the work addresses the ritual of making, utilizing (sub)cultural techniques such as tailoring, dressmaking, pattern-making, chainmail, etc. The ritual is also addressed in the act of wearing and the action that is performed inside the garment. As functional garments, they act as signifiers and facilitators of protection (body covering, armour, masks). As aesthetic objects, they exist without the structure of the body form and stand alone as relics of the performance or ritual. This work highlights cultural traditions of making and wearing clothing, which has become obsolete in our modernity. I look for current manifestations of ritual costumes in pop culture, athletic competition, and current ritual and combine these references with historical and sub-cultural ritualistic dress.