About this piece:
Pressing On takes physical, material, and intellectual inspiration from Hannah More’s “An Estimate of the Religion of the Fashionable World: By One of the Laity”, London, 1791. Published anonymously, it was one of the most widely read books of the day. Pages of Hannah More’s writings are cut, scorched, woven and layered. Antique “sad” (solid) irons convey the stories, presented singly or installed as multiples, evoking the tactile, experiential memory of a domestic labor force. The sad irons present the personal ‘herstories’ – those laboring under the demands for pressed garments and linens, to suit class distinctions, societal expectations – the erstwhile servitude of those pressing. Garments carefully and repetitively manipulated, aided by the parallel tasks of mending, sewing and primping, were ultimately to be transformed by the applied and consistent heat and pressure.
Hannah More (1745 – 1833) was an abolitionist, social reformer, feminist, writer and a member of the intellectual group “Bluestockings.” She has been referred to as the “First Victorian”, bridging the 18th & 19th centuries. Her writings and benevolence strongly influenced the public mind and social character of her day. More’s life-long overriding cause was galvanizing women to act not as domestic ornaments, but as thinking, engaged and responsible beings. She devoted herself to educating and helping the poor, establishing over sixteen charitable schools. Hannah helped give the abolition movement a public voice with her writings. Publishing and collaborating with William Wilberforce, a member of Parliament, she remained active in the anti-slavery movement her entire life. Her poem Slavery was purposely published in 1788 to coincide with the first parliamentary debate on slave trade. Dying in September 1833, she lived just long enough to see slavery abolished in the British Empire.
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metal, paper, ink
About the artist:
Carole P. Kunstadt received her BFA from Hartford Art School, W. Hartford, CT. and continued with postgraduate studies at the Akademie der Bildenen Künste in Munich, Germany. As a tapestry designer, collagist, painter, and book arts and fiber artist Kunstadt often invokes other people’s histories in the materials she uses which gives her work a metaphysical quality of timelessness.
Kunstadt was the recipient of the 2017 Kuniyoshi Fund Award selected by members of The Kuniyoshi Fund Committee in cooperation with the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum Award Committee.