Saturday, August 17, 2013

Furniture Girls

This is one of the mannequins I have been working on in my "Women as Furniture" series. 
She has a full set of piano keys for a skirt.  There are old radio tubes in her crown.  She has a metal robotic hand.  She is dressed in a corset-like apparatus, keeping her rigid and reigned in.
I don't have a name for her yet, but she is based on the Edwardian and Victorian tradition of training women to be entertainers.  A lady who could play piano, laugh at a man's jokes, carry herself elegantly, sing, and provide witty repartee would have many prospects for a husband.

Which, of course, was the goal for all young women in the mid to late 1800's.

The other two mannequins are of a similar vintage.  One is a narrative about faithfully writing letters to a loved one who is away, and the other is about being accomplished at all types of 'womens' work', mainly needlework.

Ultimately, wives were decorative items that no wealthy and successful man would be without.
I am going to create a wallpaper backdrop for the mannequins that will cement the idea that they are good women of good breeding, waiting in a Victorian parlour for the Master of the House to come home.  Their lives are not complete or defined until He comes home.

My take on this story is, however, that they are becoming a bit rebellious.  They can see into the future where women get the vote and are allowed to own property.  The letter-writer is smoking a cigarette and has a gun in her hand.  The needleworker has snapped and started sticking knitting needles in her head.  And the entertainer, above, has cut off her piano-playing hands and replaced one with a robot hand that is definitely not milky white and delicate.

When the mannequins are all set up in their mock Victorian parlour, I would love to incorporate a chandelier into the mix.