a roof over our heads
Art installation and alternative book structure constructed from found wood, hand-cast paper made from grocery bags and letters from an ex, embroidered cotton. 2019-2020.
The phrase a roof over our heads resounds from childhood memories. I can hear my dad’s voice echoing this statement to remind us of the importance of the work that my parent’s did to earn that roof over our heads. I have flashes of memories of my sister, a single mother and her children, living out of her car; visions of my retired father with a leaking roof—all of the hard-labor factory work being invested back into a house that has a barely functioning roof. Housing insecurity is not an abstract concept to me, making my experience as a first-time homeowner and new parent even more potent. My husband grew up living in rented apartments with his little sister and his single-parent mother who worked hard to raise them. We could only dream of owning our home! Thus I have thought a great deal about what it means to have the security and safety of home. To have a place to live that is safe from the elements and is a domestic space separate from the world is a hard-earned privilege. Yet it is one that is tenuous.
The hand-cast paper, made from old bags and letters, signifying roof shingles is delicate—it tears easily, so much so that the stitched letters pull at the delicate fibers.
If it were to become wet, it would
I began making this installation 6 months before the pandemic shifted the paradigm of the entire globe. Having a safe home and a roof over our heads to quarantine has changed our relationships with home—for some it is the stuff of nightmares. For others, it is our absolute haven in this world.
I began asking individuals to finish the statement, “a roof over my head is...”
...And their words are been embroidered into alternative book structures made from hand-cast paper. When the paper is folded, it looks like an oddly shaped book. When it is opened, it resembles a humble silhouette of a house: a mere roof and walls.