Katharine MartinB-urgers is one of NEA's newest studio tenants! Katharine is a highly skilled textile artist, silversmith and sculpturess. Her entry into @chilternartprize this year is one example of her highly detailed and labour intensive works. We love her story behind this piece." Michaela Alexander, Media Team
"Thank you for all the positive likes to my piece. For those who don't know how I came to this idea, allow me to explain.
I was studying textiles in the 90's and I started to put One and Two cent coins into my work, with titles such as 'Pocket Money' and 'Small Change'.
In 2008 to 2010 I studied Silver Smithing. I wanted to learn to do small metal pieces after doing big sculptural work in the 80's. I enjoyed the course and fell in love with silver!
My mother became interested in my work and studies, and mentioned to me that she had saved 5 cent coins because they were the smallest coin in silver, and she offered them for me to use in an art work. Next thing I ended up with $15 's worth of 5 cents in silver!
I came to the idea of surrounding the coins with a flower crochet like a doily. After testing, I decided to use wire. It gave a different beauty to the crochet and it accentuated the silver coin. When encompassing the coins I realised that to crochet and cover the coin like a precious stone I was using jewellery making techniques.
Each coin took 2 hours to do, so if I wanted to do a dollar's worth, it would take a 40 hour working week to complete. A dollar a week, very similar to how textile workers' labour was valued.
The table cloth idea came when I put my first One Dollar block together: one dollar a week for 24 weeks would create a beautiful piece and a statement about the low economic value placed on women's labour and Textiles skills.
Test for yourself how much the piece should be worth if you were to be paid a fair hourly rate: $-- /hour x 40 x 24 = $-- .
Anyway the piece is finally finished and I named it 'An Artist's Dollar; in memory of Brenda Faunce Martin', my mother."
Katherine Martin Burgers working on 'An Artist's Dollar' at NEA in 2017.
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