As a girl, I was fiery and unafraid. I believed that girls rule and boys drool and that my Mom was the coolest girl in the world. Girls could do anything boys could, especially me. I got older, and in late elementary school, I discovered the term “feminist” and adopted it with enthusiasm. I confidently pointed out sexism in my classmates and took my first formal feminist stance against elementary school dress codes. These works are for that girl who I am trying to rediscover. She was not thinking about how the boys see her. She never made herself small for the attention of a man.
Through a lengthy and intricate process, I created portraits of women that I know. The works begin as large pieces of muslin laid out on a flat surface. Then, I mix acrylic paint and water, stir vigorously and apply the pigment to the canvas as a stain. I use a sponge and a spray bottle to move the colour around the canvas. Once dry, I stitch over a thousand beads onto the canvas. Throughout the processes of staining and beading, a woman emerges from the canvas. I add beads until I am confident in the identity of the portrait.
The process is the most integral part of the work. Working with a large scale engages the entire body in the making process. Using my body and pushing it to its physical limits honours all of the women who came before me, who were not recognized for their contributions. Beads, needles, and thread represent women’s work and attempt to celebrate the sacrifices and strides women have made throughout history. These works acknowledge the profound impact women have had on me individually, and celebrate the condition of womanhood.
You can see more of Hannah’s work on her Instagram @hambonesart