Lauren Sinett

A Conservative Battle: Objects of War

Senior Project April 2013


As human beings, we spend the majority of our existence developing an individual identity. For many people it’s easy to slip into social labels; for others individuality is prescribed; and to some it’s a lifelong battle. As we sift through our experiences to define right from wrong, our human opponents attack these efforts to establish ourselves. Constantly barraged by media, many of us are aimlessly manipulated and held captive by sociocultural expectations. The journey of seeking individual identity is by its very nature a valiant struggle; the irony and humor of this challenge is that evolutionarily humans innately seek approval from the greater community.

Being challenged by opposing views, encouraged by allies, and oppressed by enemies, this project is a story of a battle. My goal in creating objects of war is to express my own personal conflict with culture and society. This fight goes unrecognized as we battle the day’s monotony, suppressing inner struggles of each other’s expectations. Throughout this war, I have felt that I am expected to fit neatly into a social box, or (dare I say) sit and be pretty. The work in this exhibition is representative of the mental armor that has supported me through my past and present battles. They are reminders of moments where I victoriously express a socially unacceptable view, and for having the strength and courage to achieve goals which are doubted by others. By sharing my vulnerability and my inner strength I hope to encourage my human colleagues to confidently find their voice. Although I acknowledge my own inner turmoil, others laugh as they fit seamlessly into a social construct, but I find both valor and humor in the struggle. At the end of the day, we put on the social suits of armor, but we do have the choice to take them off.

The realm of contemporary jewelry was a natural fit for defining my concept of suiting up for our daily battles. I chose ceramics as my main material for its delicate nature associated with fine china, and for its opposing characteristic of extreme durability utilized to stop bullets in modern composite armor. The dichotomy which this material presents is symbolic of repressing our individuality for the desire to be accepted by society.  In reference to armor throughout history, my love of metalwork is also incorporated into these pieces and into the functionality of the work. To express the fragility of ceramics, I used a white low fire clay body and created a glaze similar to a celadon finish to reference the delicate aesthetic typical of Asian ceramics. I also inlaid textural materials such as lace and fly swatters which I find relative to domestication and femininity. These impressions are juxtaposed to the hardness of the ceramics and metal, expressing my need to break out of the barriers of societal expectations. 

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