(Necessitous) Accessories

“Womanhood” is an ever-changing and important cultural construct upon which social, political and economic systems depend. Accepted standards of beauty and femininity, however “natural” they may seem, are neither natural or biologically determined. To quote Simone de Beauvoir, "One is not born a woman, but rather becomes one."

While bronze suggests timelessness, immortality and important ideas, these objects are like bronzed baby shoes. They are sadly dated souvenirs, reminders of outgrown and discarded ideals. They show us how invisible cultural agendas are embedded in ordinary objects and ever changing.


How are things “bronzed?”

Objects of any material can be given a bronze patina. A few of the objects in this collection are fabricated copper colored by patinas. Most of the objects in (necessitous) Accessories are real objects that have been plated with a substantial layer of copper through a process called electroforming. The word “bronzed” covers them all and sounds more “artful.”

In this process, articles are made rigid, coated with electro-conductive paint, attached to wires and suspended in an acid bath. Direct electrical current causes copper ions to transfer from a copper anode, also suspended in the bath, to the object, the cathode, attracting copper ions. The process can take several hours to a day. Electroforming kits were sold in the 1950s for bronzing baby shoes. The framed brochure describes how to set up a “bronzing” business in your home. The bronzed baby shoes on a platform along side an ashtray are a typical creation.