Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
My work is largely autobiographical and the way I express myself is the product of memories and life experiences. I grew up as one of a family of ten children and learned early the values of sharing and helping others. We were also taught not to waste anything. We learned to recycle as part of our daily life. As you will see in my work almost all of the materials I use are found objects or recycled materials. In growing up as part of a large, rural, southern family, there was also a tradition of ‘women’s work’. Nearly all of my female relatives did some kind of handiwork, such as tatting, knitting, sewing, or quilting, oftentimes as part of a larger family gathering. I often feel that when I am working there is a direct cultural connection to the women I admire. Over the last five years I have been spending a week at a time on Louisiana’s barrier islands and I have come to realize how similar our lives are to the lives of the barrier islands. While both lives endure hardships and great loss, they are also filled with moments of extraordinary beauty and creation. Collecting found objects is both a physical and spiritual release for me. The objects I select are special finds that I associate with both loved ones and memories, and the process of collecting evokes primeval memories of man as a hunter and gatherer. The materials I work with have similar qualities that I associate with women. My use of these materials, in conjunction with found objects, symbolizes a release from the past, the transformation of the present, and prayers and good wishes for the future. I use reliquaries to symbolize the fusing of memories, past experiences, and the process of the transference of life. My enjoyment of process and simple, repetitive movements are a source of peace and tranquility in my daily life. My hope is that the viewer will take away a sense of spiritual connection, peace and healing.
Document Availability at the Time of Submission
Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.
James, Yvonne Pierce, "Felt" (2005). LSU Master's Theses. 1797.
Kelli Scott Kelley