After more than 50 years, my mother’s wooden clothes pins remain in my possession. Most things I kept from that time have long since been removed. The ceramic bird collection, the vintage 50’s clothing, the costume jewelry, carnival glass and ancient linens…all gone. Even the house has been sold. But the clothes pins remain. They connect me to my mother and the precious time spent with her in our back yard when she hung our clothes to dry using these very same wooden pins.
I started using the shape as a component in large assemblages many years ago and in the last two years it has become the focus of a series of mixed media sculptures called Mother Pins. The shape is evocative of an elegant elongated female form. To me, the shape has come to represent my mother, Ernestine Carpenter. Ernestine is the mother pin, appearing as a provider of shelter, food and fantasy. In whatever guise, she is always elegant, always elevated. The series re-imagines that long held bag of clothes pins transformed from a mundane artifact to an emblem of the complex but reverent and loving relationship between a mother and her daughter.