Kneaded

Kneaded, 2020

Installation, Sculpture, Performance, Film 

Materials: Ceramic vessels, plaster cast, found and refinished kitchen table, mother dough, sanded table remnants, flour, water

Memories leave within an individual the residue of an event or moment in time. I was taught to make bread at a young age, and the smell of baking bread evokes pleasant childhood memories. The process of kneading dough, in particular, is something that I feel embodies a nurturing act through touch. It is a physical and meditative process that allows you to stop and think for a moment—-focusing only on what your hands are creating, and who will be enjoying the results of your labor. It is a loving act that ends with the nourishing of another. For my fifth and final piece in this series, Kneaded, I created an interactive sculpture focused on the experience of sharing and breaking bread with others as well as a demonstration of the nurturing act of feeding something in order to keep it alive. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it has completely changed the way that we live and interact with others forever, I have decided to alter this piece slightly in order to reflect the current lack of shared experiences. The sculpture consists of a large, kitchen table that sits in the center of the gallery space. The kitchen table was found on the side of the road, bruised with years of use. It was originally missing the center leaf, so I crafted a new one from salvaged wood. I spent weeks sanding and nurturing this table to repair it to its original glory and give it a life once again. 

The remnants from the sanding process are collected within the vessel underneath the table. There is a projected film onto this sawdust that includes an accumulation of different hands kneading dough. They are all sharing in this nurturing act, bypassing the boundaries of location and time.  The kitchen table was the heart of my childhood home. It was the communal place where my family gathered each day to talk about their experiences and share with each other, the place where we were nourished and nurtured mentally and physically, day by day. On the center of the table exists a large plaster vessel, created from the cast of my sister’s pregnant torso. 

Within this vessel sits a jar containing the mother dough, that was fermented from the naturally occurring yeast that lives within the air of my home. I have been feeding this mother dough for months, once a day in order to keep it alive. Surrounding this are hundreds of individually crafted ceramic cups.