Thursday Salute to Originals: Billowing Ceramics
Mixed-media sculptures explore themes of feminine identity through traditional domestic crafts.
“I am a force, and I think I tend to push the boundaries of what might be within the female expectation in Mexican culture,” said Nicole McLaughlin, the Massachusetts-based, Mexican American artist behind the ceramic mixed-media work below.
Both ceramic and fiber arts are traditionally domestic trades in Mexican culture, falling into a rigid set of gendered crafts. McLaughlin foils the traditional forms through “warping” terracotta with a glaze known as majolica, coupling ceramic pieces to dyed fabric that is knotted and carefully draped.
Blue and white dyes and earth-tone motifs flow through both the fragile porcelain and draped cloth. This brings singularity to the two otherwise contrasting mediums.
When combined, the terracotta and textiles lose their utility — you can’t serve a traditional meal on plates filled with cloth!
This erasure was an especially important dimension to McLaughlin, meant to highlight how traditionally feminine cultural practices could be reimagined in an expressive and bold way.