Nancy VanKanegan

Lady Hammers
glazed porcelain, found textile tassels, glass beads, nails, wire
16 x 27 x 3.5 in.

Tools are functional. Their function is to assist and augment the efforts of the human body. Many tools are connotatively gendered male-including hammers, shovels, traps. This labelling does not mean their use is forbidden by women but the male association is overt. As a maker, I own and use many tools. Some people are surprised by the breadth of my tool collection- even though most actions of my tools involve finesse rather than strength. We makers live in a rarified world. I look forward to a time when it is common to know that women wield hammers- and a man with a sewing needle is normal and mundane.

These works use the concept of tools as a comment on the nature of dysfunction; a dysfunction that stems from this binary assignment to even inanimate objects. Right now, we must reflect on the absurdity of using harsh angry solutions to the most poignant human strife. Instead of smashing, digging, and trapping, these tools invite consideration of the shifting of the energy of the actions. The porcelain hammers imply self-destruction on impact, and are a reminder of the fragility of even the one who strikes.

Embrace those qualities assigned to the feminine such as gentleness, compassion, softness and whimsy. Let your imagination help to create tools for a kinder future.

© Nancy VanKanegan