Your grandparents' and parents' values do mark you and continue to mark you as you grow older, cause I think of a lot of things that, oh, I wouldn't do that because grandpa wouldn't do that. He was the neatest thing since sliced bread, as far as I was concerned. Marion Kesner This remark was made by my grandmother in the summer of 2009. It was a closing statement to one of our many discussions revolving around her history. The conversation led me to realize that the connection to the past contributes deeply to our current identity. Through time and experiences, people build on who they think they are. There is no discernible beginning nor foreseeable end, as our identity is influenced by previous and future generations, extending in both directions beyond those living. As an individual, I see myself constantly linked to my elders, peers, and those younger than me. Through this expanding network I continue to form my identity, as well as influence others as they form theirs. I am interested in looking at past generations within my family, as well as my own evolving memory, to construct sculptural work that symbolizes the irreplaceable history that is forming my identity. I believe that memory is selective. Thus no two people can have the same memory. One's personal collection of memories forms one's identity. At the same time, memories are linked between individuals through a larger connected history, especially those linked by family or one's most intimate relations. This connection ties people together. By creating sculptural pieces associated with my personal past, I also aim to connect to the memories of the viewer. I wish to engage with a larger connected history, where the viewer reflects on their own past and current identity. The work revolves around domestic objects that remind me of experiences from my past. By combining these found objects, of different materials, from generations past, with various objects that I create, I aim to conserve a presence of a family's history. Each object thus guides me towards various techniques within different media. A multitude of these techniques are derived from traditional craft processes, which hold the history and values that I want to portray in the work. The installation of the work guides people through moments from my past, which is strongly connected to who I am today. I also aim for the altered objects to resonate within the positive and negative memories of others. No two people can have the same memory, but pieces can be shared. "From culture to culture and country to country, individual memories overlap like Venn diagrams. These overlaps are collective or communal memories, joint remembrances of historical experiences that reinforce group membership and bind us together as tribes" (Rupp, 10). Through this connection, I want people to be comforted by the traces of time, knowing that it has helped create who we are and to prepare us for the future.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Glass sculpture--Themes, motives; Memory in art; Found objects (Art); Families in art
Fine Arts Studio (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School for American Crafts (CIAS)
Halvorson, Jennifer, "Presence within absence" (2011). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus