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J Carpenter

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I employ traditional lace making techniques to render protective structures laced from thread, rope, and steel cable; doors, windows, entranceways, roads, and sidewalks embroidered in thread; and embossings from threaded objects.

I am interested in how the grueling process of lace making and needlework relates to their purely decorative finished products and how this relationship is in turn emblematic of much familial, social, and cultural effort. Just as lace garments neither shield nor warm their wearers, our domestic and cultural institutions often fall short in their promises of sanctuary, safety, and social justice. And yet, just as with lace making, the impulse to always do more persists, an impulse rooted in and nourished by hope.

The images that I portray reconstruct the paradox implicit in this hope—the seeming quixotic absurdity of the exhaustive effort it requires contrasted with its intrinsic personal, professional, and aesthetic rewards. Though a house arduously constructed of lace cannot provide physical sanctuary with its permeable thresholds drawing into confusion the very notion of interiority vs. exteriority itself and of who is being protected from what, these structures, distilled from their promises, endure as delicate palimpsests of the labor and aspirations from which they were constructed.

Forum Posts

J Carpenter, portfolio

I render symbols of protection using three dimensional lace that I make by hand, sometimes with trad...

Posted:9 years ago

Live Wires

"Live Wires" is comprised of 6,000 feet of nylon construction rope, woven together using lace making...

Posted:9 years ago