As well as developing the practical skills needed to explore sugar as a sculptural material another aim was to develop a deeper understanding of confection in association with the female body sensory pleasures and embodiment.
I approached curator and writer Anneka French to do a studio visit. The visit sparked some really interesting and exciting developments. Where we have discussed the affects of sugar on the body, the viscosity of sugar and custard, amongst many other really interesting connections.
What has been the most interesting is the connection we are making in relation to the city we are based in. As we both live in Birmingham, the discussions have led us to talk about Bournville as a site for research. Bournville is the home to Cadbury’s world
(Image found in Birmingham and Art gallery)
The majority of the workers were women or ‘Cadbury’s Angels’ as they were called. Female staff worked in the factory until they were married, as George Cadbury didn’t want them to be away from their homes and children.
I have also been reading ‘The Art of Confectionery’ where I found it particularly interesting that Day states how the production of confectionery was a socially acceptable activity for high-ranking ladies since the Tudor period. Being able to arrange a banquet of dessert in a fashionable style was one of the necessary skills of a ‘compleat woman’
Sugar and sex, sweetness and femininity –
I have started to look at how advertising reinforces that sugar work is women’s work as well as the eating of them is.
Reading Ruby Tandoh’s essay on the ‘primal pleasure and brutal history of sugar’ As also offered me more to think about
“No sugared association is stronger than that between sweetness and femininity. Girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. Women are honey, sweetheart, cupcake, candy girl, honeybunch — or they’re tarts. In the Bible, “The lips of an adulterous woman drip honey” (Proverbs 5:3). Meanwhile, black women have been “caramel,” “brown sugar,” “mocha latte,” “chocolate,” and “molasses” — both desired and diminished. Making sweet foods is considered women’s work — and eating them is, too. Girls receive an Easy-Bake Oven; cake mixes are marketed exclusively to women; home bakers are overwhelmingly female. Candy and chocolate are so heavily feminized that a Yorkie bar in the UK — normal chocolate, massive chunks — until recently stood out by marketing itself as “not for girls.” Ruby Tandoh
I am super excited for the new directions in my work that this bursary has opened up for me and look forward to sharing how this project progresses in 2019.