In my new work, Camisole de Force, an Exploratory Project, I am connecting and creatively building on the physicality of the straight jacket.

These jackets will each be addressing and accumulating a historical, personal or social theme that ties in with emotional or intellectual binding. 

Within each piece, I draw from my own personal experiences, and will tap into history and cultural climate. 

The term is also used metaphorically, as in the phrase "intellectual straitjacket" to criticize very tight boundaries on what ideas are allowed, as imposed by an ideological system of thought.

The history of binding and control can be unraveled culture by culture as well as through ideologies. The binding and control of women can be found throughout time, and I am researching, exploring these dynamics and creating this art project based on the accumulative findings along with my personal response to those findings. 

Within the Camisole De Force project, I have begun to unravel the psychological and emotional similarities to the garment itself, being bound by personal, cultural or gender norms. 

Each straight jacket I create will represent a time personally, historically, and/or culturally of being bound. 

Themes and ideas will build on each other as the project unfolds. 

I research on the historical, cultural and physical aspects of the straight jacket and their creation, as well as the artistic approach to the design and content. I sew them myself, then paint, along with mixed media, resulting in the final pieces. 

“Ideas about mothers have swung historically with the roles of women. When women were needed to work the fields or shops, experts claimed that children didn't need them much. Mothers, who might be too soft and sentimental, could even be bad for children's character development. But when men left home during the Industrial Revolution to work elsewhere, women were "needed" at home. The cult of domesticity and motherhood became a virtue that kept women in their place.”
Sandra Scarr

Camisole de Force 

Vintage Crochet, and 
Hand Embroidered 

By Jennifer Randall 

‘House chores’ and childcare are often not a choice by women. 
Systemic societal dynamics keep women and men in roles they are frequently not suited for. Throughout history, women’s responsibilities have been decided for them. They become a constraint when choices are not readily available. 
I was not in a household where both parents had a sharing role in anything, from child rearing to decision making. 
As pretty as the home can seem and as lovely as children grow up to be, the understanding and consent of domesticity is essential for all genders.

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