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Monday, January 20, 2014

Cotton picking house


Happy Martin Luther King day everyone. I hope you have a nice holiday today!
I have been going through my hard drive sorting old photos and I came across this piece. I made this a couple of years ago, it sold almost as soon as it came out of the kiln. I never made another one. I think I would like to revisit this idea and make more of these.

The image is of two African American women picking cotton in the south. I had a long talk with my friend Candace one day about how I wanted to make some pieces that represented the old slave houses I used to visit as a kid. I love these little houses and feel like they deserve to be honored for the lives that lived in them. However, I am not African American and can't begin to even pretend I understand the history of slavery in the south, so I felt that maybe it wasn't my place, but Candace assured me that it's a history that belongs to all of us, and we all have a part of it in our lives. There were families living in these places, loving, praying, caring for one another and they deserve to be remembered. And so, I made this one. I loved it and I wish I could remember who owns it now. I think this form has influenced many of the pieces I have made. Only one person has actually recognized that. When I did the workshop with Nina Bagley she mentioned that they reminded her of the slave houses in the south, why yes Ms. Bagley, you are so right!

I felt much more authentic using the image of the cotton workers with this piece. My grandfather grew up on a cotton farm in Georgia, he picked cotton, in fact he had to quit school in the sixth grade to work the farm. My grandmother had to quit school in the 4th grade to go to work in the cotton mill. My grandfather also worked in the cotton mill, lived in the little mill house a block away and raised four kids on a poor man's cotton mill salary. He missed only one day of work in 50 years and then he retired, without even so much as a goodbye from the management of the mill. My mom was so mad at them, she drove up from Myrtle Beach and went to the mill and shamed them. Go mom!


Anyway, I'm reading this book right now, I'm working on plays about the Civil War, and today is MLK day. This white girl has a lot of this topic of slavery and injustice on my mind, I would like to find a resting place for it all.............

peace ya'll
xo

12 comments:

Susan Jonsson said...

I would love to buy one of your cotton field houses, I've loved your houses for a long time now. I grew up in the Yakima Valley....in Wa. State. Migrant workers lived in "shacks" among the apple, cherry and pear orchards. I didn't know they were actually inhabited by anyone until much later in my life. Orchard workers ....instead of cotton field workers. I can really relate to them. My Dad grew up on a wheat ranch...homesteaded by his immigrant parents. Family farms...Different times, traditions and circumstances. Time and Place...Luck...Fate.

smartcat said...

Your houses are always so appealing but there is something very special with this one. The magic worked and the whole of the house is greater than the parts.

I'm looking forward to more!

littlemancat said...

It is magic, this little house. Your inspiration shines through!
Great post, Tracey.
Mary

Sandy miller said...

What a beautiful little house...... yes, explore more!!

Happy MLK day to all ........ so much reflection during these last few years.

Sheri Bare said...

What a wonderful pottery house...I agree. Make more!!

Rosa said...

Is/was your friend Candace African-American?

Lori Buff said...

That house tells a story that needs to be told and remembered. I agree that you should make more.

I've been listening to "The Help" in my studio this week. Have you read it? I suspect you'd like it a lot.

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

That house is beautiful! I hope you will make more.

Tracey Broome said...

Hey ya'll thanks for the comments and the emails!
Yes, my pal Candace is a beautiful African American woman, and a very wise woman too! I miss her since her move to Ca.

cindy shake said...

Love the house, love the image transfer. Beautiful. Of course my soul sister to the south read the same book I just finished!!

Anonymous said...

I looked this book up after being inspired by your house and its story. I was so moved by it and so caught up by the story that I had trouble putting it down until I finished it.

harleylady01 said...

I looked this book up after being inspired by your house and its story. I was so moved by it and so caught up by the story that I had trouble putting it down until I finished it.