Chain Mail

  • Multi-media postcards, gold thread, chain, wood, dried flowers
  • 7'H x 2'W x 20' Long

Originally created as the result of an invitation from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY (home of suffragist Susan B. Anthony), to celebrate The Year of the Woman, this became an installation that eventually involved over 300 women from all over the U.S. as well as from several foreign countries. Hundreds of postcards were sent “chain mail” style to and from women asking the recipient to creatively address the word CHAIN on one of the cards.

Once the cards were returned to me, I created a female version of chain mail armor....a tunic in which all the cards were stitched together and suspended from the ceiling, flowing out over twenty feet along the floor.

Responses from women of varied racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds not only included actual chains but addressed themes such as Life Chains (DNA, marriage, family) and Chains of Bondage (from slavery to sexual to being chained to one’s kitchen appliances). There was Chain Smoking, Chain Stores, Food Chains, Chains of Thought and of Events, Geographical Chains, Chain Stitches, Chains to the Past, Chains That Need Breaking and Chains expressed by Aretha Franklin and the Righteous Brothers. From teens to nursing home residents, mothers and daughters, physicians, nurses, educators, artists and musicians, administrators, housewives, retirees and a State Supreme Court judge, come a gamut of feelings in a wide range of presentations. In the end they came together in a spiritual linking of thought, emotion and creativity....a truly unique chain.

In addition, the CHAIN MAIL tunic was accompanied by a Response Chain (in lieu of a guest book) at each venue in which it was shown. This continually expanding chain of cards was joined by metal fasteners and snaked around the gallery reflecting the reactions of viewers, both male and female, to the piece.