My work explores experiences in military service as a young adult. A soldier at 17, raised by a mother and grandmother, now transplanted into a world centered around killing, anger, and masculinity. Raised outside of a military installation and exposure to toy guns, plastic army men, and G.I. Joes as a child made the soldier an icon, a figure of idolization, and made playing war a regular childhood game. In the work, lyrics from marching cadences are printed or embroidered in repeated patterns, reflecting the mantras they become when they’re recited every day. Prints are sewn together to become structures experienced while training and in the field. Installations of sandbags and cut paper camo netting are made into bunkers for protection in case of an attack.
Through the use of sewing, embroidery, and handmade paper, it is my intention to investigate matriarchy vs. patriarchy as it is seen in the military. A world dominated by masculinity, men talking inappropriately about women and minorities. A world where killing is arousing, and the talk of killing is foreplay. A world where you bite your tongue if you disagree, because fitting in is safer than any moral beliefs you may have started with. A world that my mother and grandmother are never prouder to tell people I belonged.