"Who I think you think I am..."
a three minute conversation with quilt artist, Chawne Kimber
Yesterday afternoon, I met Chawne at a local cafe to ask her to explain the title of her show. I also asked her about the word "Bitch." You can listen to it, or read the transcription below.
LAUREN KINDLE: Hello, Chawne Kimber.
CHAWNE KIMBER: Hello, Lauren Kindle. How are you?
LK: I'm having coffee with you at Cosmic Cup.
CK: Uh huh. I've got a "Dirty Chai" here.
LK: I've got an espresso. So, tell me about the title of our show, "In Tall Cotton."
CK: "In Tall Cotton..." Well it's a phrase that was used back in the day when you talked about where you were in the harvest season of your farm. And you're "in tall cotton" when it's about time to go out there and start picking. And it's typically interpreted as a happy moment in time. It wasn't really happy for my ancestors since it was a heavy work time. So it's that sort of dual notion that I'm going after here.
LK: So nowadays, like what would be an appropriate time to say "we're in tall cotton." How would you use that?
CK: Well, if you just won the lottery you're "in tall cotton."
CK: It's a huge, lucky time. You're about to reap what you sowed before, in a positive way.
LK: Right, ok. so that's an expression we don't use a lot up in the North.
CK: Not really, no
LK: Why did you choose to use that as the title for this show?
CK: Um, well, 'cause it has the word cotton in it, if we want to be really dumb. But, no really, so...I explore these dual notions of identity in the work that I do, and I think I kind of touch upon both pieces in terms of my identity as a person, my ancestry is on one side, but then I live a privileged life.
LK: All right...and let's quick segue into your other quilt, with the word "Bitch" on it. tell me about that word.
CK: Oh awesome. So "bitch" is one of those terms that we're trying to reclaim as women, and keep the power to ourselves. So recently someone told me online that "bitch" is actually "Babe in total control of herself" and I've never heard that before, and it isn't quite my definition of what a bitch is. And I just think that a bitch can be a really positive thing where you're strong and you stand up for yourself in the right moments of time, doing exactly the right thing, not hurting too many people too much. But it also can be an extremely negative thing. Again, it's sort of this spectrum and a dual notion that comes from that word. So, it's part of my series of "Who I think you think I am." And I do think that some people think I'm a postive bitch and a negative bitch. And it's all good.
LK: Thank you so much for your time. I hope that a lot of people will come on Friday night.
LK: So, I'll see you then!
CK: See ya!
"In Tall Cotton: Expressions of My Self" will be open to the public this Memorial Day Weekend. Opening reception Friday night, 6-10 pm, at Lauren Kindle Studio, 7B North Bank Street, Easton, PA. The show will also be open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, 10-3. Don't miss it!!
For further reading, check out my recent blog post: Chawne Kimber, Quilt Artist.