Melanie Thompson and Judith Barnett.
June 9th to July 5th
“Mrs Williams: Homage to a Homemaker” is the work of Melanie Thompson and Judith Barnett and has been in progress for the last two years. The idea came from an old wooden recipe box given to Barnett by her elderly neighbor, Mrs Williams. Inside the box was a collection of recipes, beautifully scripted in pen and ink, which, for Thompson and Barnett, symbolised the work of a lifetime homemaker. The box engendered memories of her own childhood for Thompson; her mother having a similar recipe box and being a homemaker, spending hours of each day in the kitchen, cooking, sewing, repairing, and being resourceful.
Thompson and Barnett have always appreciated and practiced these arts themselves, and believe that “women’s work” is to be celebrated and appreciated as the backbone of society.
To bring this to life they are creating a truly unique version of a kitchen from the 1950’s: Dresses, aprons, mixing bowls and handmade books, vie for space with washing lines, an ironing board, shelving units and furniture, with repurposed materials being used throughout. Collage and painting line the walls referencing the world, skill, creativity, determination and resourcefulness of women at their work.
Acknowledging that the homemaker arts are now as important as ever, and that “ a woman’s work is never done” they have incorporated contemporary and unconventional materials in their creations, adding surprise and innovation to the feel of the installation.
An interactive aspect of the show will be a recipe box, like that of Mrs Williams, with cards on which visitors may write down their own recipes and memories of the period.
Thompson and Barnett primarily want to celebrate and focus the visitor’s attention on the arts and crafts of the woman as homemaker. These arts are by no means less skillful for being practical and “Mrs Williams: Homage to a Homemaker” shows us how art can be an inspiration and driver for society. They have created an evocative and surprising environment using the skills and creativity of the homemaker to inform and delight the visitor.
As Canada celebrates 150 years, Thompson and Barnett’s work celebrates the role of women in making the homes that make the country.
“Mrs Williams: Homage to a Homemaker” runs from June 9th to July 5th at Mahon Hall, and is sponsored by the Salt Spring Arts council and Windsor Plywood. There will be an opening celebration 6-8 pm Friday June 9th and a talk with the artists on Sunday June 18th@2pm
Artist talk June 18-2pm.