Posted by on Mar 12, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off on Houston, We Have an Exhibit

Keeping Up Appearances by CIndy Biles website sculpture clay ceramic


My latest piece, entitled, “Keeping Up Appearances,” addresses societal pressures and expectations.  It has been in my mind for AGES.  The opportunity to make it real outside of my head came when fellow artist Cindy Billingsley invited me to join an amazing group of artists to show at the national conference of NCECA.  That’s National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts and this year it is in Houston, Texas from March 20-23.  Our exhibit is called “Dynamic Narratives.”

Photographer Jason Dowdle did a brilliant job of finding just the right angle to get every detail in one shot.  Just so you could appreciate the mink’s googly eyes (why did we do this to these poor animals???), here is a detail shot:

Keeping Up Appearances Detail by Cindy Biles for website clay sculpture ceramic

If you visit the  Facebook page for our show, you’ll see some of the other pieces.  I am so thrilled to be a part of this group!

Cindy asked us to write a short description for our work and here is mine (just A LITTLE tongue-in-cheek):

As a young child growing up in the early 1960s, I thought it curious that gender roles were so strictly defined and found some of the “rules” questionable. The woman, as wife and mother, was expected to take sole care of the children, keep an immaculate house, and have cookies baked in case company dropped by. No matter what transpired during the day, she had to look good and be pleasant when her husband came home.  She didn’t leave the house without make up and her purse had to match her shoes. Above all, she had to project to the public an image that all was perfect in her world.

Family and peers strictly enforced these mores, driving one’s behavior and, often, mindset.

My father helped out more than most husbands in our neighborhood and my mother seemed to be happy. Still, I think there were times she felt unfulfilled and without options. (Of course, the same can be said for the men, who were usually the sole breadwinners and expected to be able to adequately provide for their families.)

Today, women and men have many choices, but we still experience pressures that challenge our values and often influence our behavior. This could be to be thinner, purchase all of the latest gadgets, buy expensive cars, enroll our children in prestigious schools, and to push them to participate in activities they don’t enjoy. All to appear more affluent and boost social standing. Peer pressure is ageless and timeless.


If my purse had to match my shoes, I would be in trouble!  And pristine house and cookies? Good luck with that!

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted to this blog, so will try to catch up on the highlights of the last several months.