War Babies 2008
I have made use of American plastic mass-produced objects, with multiple meanings and inferences to consumerism, industry and politics, in a number of recent art works. The latest of these in the series titled “War Baby” are casts of a plastic baby-swing, which I then converted into warplanes. I made an initial mold of a plastic baby swing added wings for a plane, cast the mold in porcelain slip, glazed and fired the pieces to cone ten oxidation using baby toy colored glazes, and then personalized them with baby clothing sewn and altered into bombs, jets, and propellers. The cloth bombs and propellers are altered footy pajamas and baby ‘onesie’ outfits that belonged to my now three-year old daughter, as did the baby swing. In current American consumer society the Petrol-Plastic Industry promotes their politics and policies through an increase of war toys, which are marketed to children and bought by unassuming parents. Although the durability of the plastic material is perfect for childish tantrums and planned obsolescence of objects falling out of favor, plastic is toxic: politically, environmentally, and physically to the human body. Through porcelain I can reassign these objects a value justified by the memory of childhood, and personalize the toy (as is done by children to their toys and fighter pilots to their planes), through the use of altered baby clothing. The material softens the coldness of the war object and establishes a cynical humor about war and the future.