Overwhelmed! by Ingrid Mida, 2009
Aprons are women's voices that were mute.
Aprons are typically associated with domestic drudgery, but it wasn't always so. In fact, in ancient times, Egyptian rules wore jewel-encrusted aprons and certain fertility goddesses wore scared aprons. In more recent times, men like blacksmiths, butchers and carpenters have worn aprons to protect their clothing, but for the most part the apron has a feminine association.
To fashion scholars, aprons are among the most important cultural markers of woman's lives since they are one of the most basic forms of clothing and evoke woman's roles as caretakers. According to Beth Alberty, curator of the exhibition Apropos Apron at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the apron "draws symbolic and magic power from the sex to which it both calls attention and provides modesty and protective cover...much of (apron language and love) has to do with sexuality, fertility, and marital relations and testifies to the significance of the apron's position on the body."
When I created the miniature apron shown above, I felt overwhelmed in trying to juggle a career and my responsibilities as a caretaker for my family and my frail, elderly mother. Encasing the apron in a Mason jar evokes the feeling of being trapped and also alludes to the poem The Tear Bottle which I used in a related installation.
Recently I attended an event called Apronology hosted by the Costume Society of Ontario, I heard many stories from women who remembered their mother or grandmother wearing a specific apron. Joyce Cheney, who wrote a book called Aprons: Icons of the American Home, published in 2000 by Running Press, said: "The power of aprons lies in how they make us feel and what they help us remember."