Handmade paper, sticks, sea grass, wood (2004); photos of Janice
Purdum from 1922 to present
I dedicate this series to my mother, Janice Purdum Sturdevant, the mother of five children, and ten grandchildren.
One of the most profound ways that my mother shaped my life was through her own tactile connection with the world around her. She instilled in me a sense of tactile connectedness with clay, a love of things that are made by hand, and an openness to embrace people and be embraced in return.
I experience my mother as a primordial healer, a giver of life, love and reassurance — a woman who embraces those around her. She communicates so much through touch. As her child, I know how safe I felt in her arms. She taught me that human relationships are the most important things in life, to be cherished above all else.
So I created this series to thank my mother for her loving and tactile impact on my life as an artist, teacher, and mother.
Although my artwork has been usually tied to the figure, I felt no need for it in this series. What remains is the vessel, a universal symbol of the female. As I look at my family, friends, and even myself, I am fascinated by those characteristics, like a smile, a stance or movement that date from childhood and remains constant throughout our lives. They constitute our signature features that others know us by. As the series progresses, the vessels become deeper, more vibrant, and more graceful, like my mother. I invite you to touch them.