In my new work, Camisole de Force, an Exploratory Project, I will be 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 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.
I plan to finish a series of 12-20 of these jackets.
Camisole de Force Series
By Jennifer Randall
Mixed Media, Canvas, Rubber Stamping
This second piece in my series ‘Camisole de Force’ exposes some of the reasons a person could have been bound in a straight jacket.
The canvas fabric I chose, reflects the fabric that would have been used in a women’s ward of an asylum in the late 1800’s.
Why you would have been in an asylum at that time could have been a multitude of real or vague reasons, even a relative wanting to ‘get rid’ of you, and sending you there.
I had several custom rubber stamps made that had the words of the various behaviors that could warrant putting you in a straight jacket.
I sewed the jacket and then hand stamped on the fabric itself, each word, each row, separately and randomly. Over and over.
Two full days of stamping.
But it was well worth the outcome.
I think the tedious nature of making this piece is right in line with the essence of what I was expressing in making it. The labor of repetition. The confines of space. The aching of the muscles. There are some similarities with the piece itself.