Renee Zettle-Sterling
  • Coopersville, MI
  • United States
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  • Lindsay Fisher
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Profile Information

Where do you live ? City, State and Country
Coopersville, MI
Place of Work ? Example: Studio, College, Gallery, Museum, ...)
Grand Valley State University
I am a .... Example: Student, Maker, Educator, etc.
Associate Professor of Art and Design at Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI
Your website, DIRECT flickr or DIRECT facebook links where your work can be seen.

Objects of Mourning, 2006-2010

Objects of Mourning
Through this body of work and research I seek to understand how everyday objects assist us in transitioning through the difficult process of grief/mourning. I am interested in how mourning and commemoration is contained within objects and our constructed systems. During the process of mourning, objects can link us to loved ones that have passed or moments in life that are fleeting. This has inspired a strong interest in objects and motifs, which are sadly, no longer used or valued as they once were. These once beautifully decorative and valued objects carry with them the potential to become a source of meaning beyond their physical properties and an outlet for displacement, emptiness, loss, sentimentality, as well as hope and understanding.

Mourning Project
Object of Mourning: Liminality

This work is inspired by my interest in the concentrated and outward mourning practices of the Victorian Era in contrast to the lack of negotiating loss and mourning within contemporary western culture. The mood of the era and the moral values of the Victorian times allowed them to express their sorrow in their outward appearance, especially through their manner of dress. It is distressing, that as a culture, we do not publicly grieve for our dead. An expression of self-identity, family connectedness, a general concern for others, and the constant reminder of the inevitable is lost. Where is the space for the grief in our lives? I find the Victorian sentimentality towards death, and that of other cultures, a moving testament in allowing oneself to express publicly, deeply personal moments.

From June 21st, 2009 to June 21st 2010, I constructed and wore a brooch a day for the duration of a year. The brooches are made from many different materials and objects, but primarily from black and gray fabrics, so familiar to the women of the Victorian era who took on the burden of publicly mourning. This time, set aside every day, to construct a brooch, whether it was a few minutes or an hour, allowed me the space to consider more deeply my relationship with loved ones, who have passed away. It afforded me the opportunity to reflect on the constant, and exhausting work involved in moving through the grieving process. Wearing the brooches, on a daily basis became a signifier and prosthetic. They also served as conduits for memory to reside, as well as a chance to reconsider the void within our inward and outward mourning practice.

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Comment Wall (19 comments)

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At 8:17am on March 9, 2017, Brigitte Martin said…

Thanks for signing up again with crafthaus. Your membership is valid through March 15, 2018.

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At 10:45am on June 19, 2013, Erin Knisley said…

Congratulations on your SNAG Presidency! I am looking forward to what you bring to SNAG this year!

At 10:53pm on May 1, 2012, Erin Knisley said…

Thank you so much! School is going well and I am glad to be finishing up my second graduate school year here at IUP. :-)

At 6:07pm on March 25, 2012, Julia Harrison said…

hi renee,

thanks for the friend request!  i really enjoyed looking through your gallery.

At 9:35pm on March 22, 2012, Lindsay Fisher said…

haha thanks Renee :) I am happy to be here too! 

At 8:58pm on August 2, 2011, Julie Sanford said…

Great!  I will call you tomorrow.

At 7:22pm on August 1, 2011, Julie Sanford said…

Hi Renee, Sorry I haven't gotten back to you yet.  We have unexpected houseguests.  My nieces came in for the weekend and decided to stay a few more days.  I've been busy keeping them busy ;)   I am so sorry about your cat's illness, I hope things go well (Friday?)  Funny...I was thinking I might drive over to the MSG show and back myself on Saturday.  Maybe carpool?  We could have that coffie on the way.

At 8:04pm on July 26, 2011, Julie Sanford said…

Next week looks good we can meet at the studio (Grand Haven) or somewhere in between.

I am going to try to make the MSG reception. 

At 11:04am on March 7, 2011, alexandra hopp said…

hey it was super-rad having you here! am gonna try my darndest to get to SNAG- just realized i have a wedding to go to on the 28th but am hoping i can make it out for the first day of it or so...might be tight! :P

xo alex

At 11:13pm on March 5, 2011, Lilyana Bekic said…
Nice meeting you as well!  Thanks for coming out to SDSU.  I look forward to chatting it up at SNAG.  Hope you had a good flight.  Oh and thanks for the complements.  Much appreciated.

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