God's Protecting Arms

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Randall 14 God's Protecting Arms.JPG
Randall 16 God's Protecting Arms .JPG
Randall 15 God's Protecting Arms.JPG

God's Protecting Arms


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 are addressing and accumulating a historical, personal or social theme that ties in with emotional or intellectual binding. 

Within each piece, I will 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. 

God’s Protecting Arms

Camisole de Force Series

By Jennifer Randall

Mixed Media, Canvas, Glitter, Upcycled Vintage Feathers, Ribbon

This piece is based off the quote from this book ‘These Are My Sisters’ by Lara Jefferson, a journal from inside an asylum.

”Though it looks like an implement of torture designed in the Dark Ages, there are times when it looks like God's protecting arm around you."

-Lara Jefferson, These Are My Sisters, 1947

This piece contemplates on the perspective of the patient feeling a benefit in the use of a straight jacket. This unusual positive view on being constrained is not easy to understand. But the obvious relief is in her writings. 

It reminds me of  Temple Grandin’s Hug Machine. ‘As a young child, Grandin realized she would seek out deep pressure stimulation, but she felt over-stimulated when someone hugged or held her. The idea for the hug machine came to her during a visit to her aunt's Arizona ranch, where she noted the way cattle were confined in a squeeze chute for inoculation, and how some of the cattle immediately calmed down after pressure was administered. She realized that the deep pressure from the chute had a calming effect on the cattle, and she decided that something similar might well settle down her own hypersensitivity.

Initially, Grandin's device met with disapproval as psychologists at her college sought to confiscate her prototype hug machine. Her science teacher, however, encouraged her to determine the reason it helped resolve the anxiety and sensory issues.’ (Wikipedia)

I portrayed this straight jacket with some literal imagery of the glorious and divine. 

The feathers and gold glitter giving the piece a regal and heavenly appearance. 

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