Angel in the House


This embroidery series, titled "Angel in the House" was on display at Typeforce Chicago in February of 2016. Each of the six pieces in the series measures 1ft x 2.5ft. They are hand embroidered on panels of twill fabric.

Additional information for the piece is as follows:

The Angel in the House: The Victorian era is known, in part, for popularizing a number of intricately detailed and time-consuming crafts and artforms. A woman would stay home, while her husband, the master of the house, would manage his affairs elsewhere. Women were considered pure beings, untainted by the outside world, and were responsible for bringing their husbands closer to God. For this reason, they were sometimes referred to as “angels in the house.” They filled their free time at home with crafts like embroidery, piano playing, and fine painting, but improving at these activities did not make them eligible for employment or artistic acclaim. At times, these women were subject to less than treatment by their husbands, but because of the stigma attached to divorced women, as well as a lack of financial independence, they stayed in their homes. My proposed installation would consist of six framed pieces crafted in a style of embroidery made popular in the Victorian era known as “Berlin work”. Women could send for a Berlin work “motto” project, and it would include the necessary supplies as well as a printed template to embroider over, and the final piece was an illustrated quote to hang in their home. While the subject of these mottoes was generally religious, the six phrases I’ve chosen come from women in a range of time periods who have written about oppression they experienced because of their gender.

Sources for the quotes:

"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being" Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)

"I will not have my life narrowed down" Bell Hooks (Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black)

"I would rather be a rebel than a slave" Emmeline Pankhurst (Freedom or Death)

"I am still writing my way toward a place where I fit" Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist)

"I believe that telling our stories, [...] is a revolutionary act" Janet Mock (Redefining Realness)

"I was plagued by the thought that I was living a lie" Jennifer Finney Boylan (She's Not There)