Joan Rug, 2016
Textile arts have long been considered feminine, and been accordingly devalued. Rug hooking in particular, originating from the practice of lower class populations applying scraps of fabric to burlap, which itself could be collected and recycled from other processes, holds an especially low place on the ladder of artistic media.By reinterpreting the subject of Joan of Arc’s hands clasping a sword - from its representation in a marble statue made by the princess Marie D’Orleans of France (currently on view in the palace of Versailles) - into a hooked rug, this work seekstocomment on concepts of gender, material, and class, while drawing attention to hands as a site of invisible feminine labour.

Joan of Arc is a remarkable historical figure, and her unwillingness to perform her gender in an expected or acceptable way notably led directly to her murder.The gifs presented alongside the rug illustrate the full range of motion required to hook one strip of wool into burlap. The crystallization of the gesture, independent of any distinct purpose, is intended to serve as a metaphor for the idea of gender as “a reenactment, an re-experiencing of a set of meanings already socially established; it is the mundane and ritualized form of their legitimation.”[1]

[1] Judith Butler, Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory, Theatre Journal, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Dec., 1988), p. 526, 
Lascaux Rug, 2016
Using Format