The latest addition to my Army Wife series. This is a collection of seven vintage hankies representing the seven deployments my husband had during his nearly 20 year military career. These were not the only times he was away from home, just the ones categorized as deployments. And I’m not presenting seven as an outrageous number to be pitied — it’s just a fact. In fact, it’s probably about average these days, especially since these deployments lasted anywhere from four to twelve months.
I was inspired by photographs of eyes I saw mounted in jewelry settings as pendants or pins, meant to be mementos of absent loved ones. The pieces I saw were from the early days of photography, but my understanding is that the practice of wearing images of the eyes of loved ones dates even further back. The idea seemed appropriate for my series.
I chose to put my eyes on hankies because I work in textiles, not jewelry, and because the retro look of these vintage hankies is already present in my other aprons and quilts. I’ve already appropriated WWII era aesthetics into my visual language. I chose to use a different eye photo for each hankie to emphasize that each deployment was a separate event. It was not so easy to find photos from circa 1996 and 1998 to scan and enlarge for the eyes!
The collection will debut at the Homefront and Downrange show at the Arts Council of Moore County in June. They will be displayed in a table vitrine to emulate the look of opening a dresser drawer to access the collection.