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!