When Bloomingdale’s invited me to create a solo installation at their flagship store on 59th Street after participating in a group denim project last year, I was thrilled. What a gift! Their leadership asked me to incorporate my artistic practice focusing on spoons—those universal tools for nourishment (body, mind and spirit) and potent symbols of how we support friends, families, communities and ourselves.
Bloomingdale’s provided me with three outsized forms in the shape of iconic perfume bottles to celebrate the launch of their newly renovated, luxurious cosmetics floor, and I went to work. Each bottle had its own distinctive personality—all were strong and tall, bold and brazen.
I wrapped one bottle with fabric imprinted with my work “Hot Lips” (2018), repeating an image of overlapping spoons sharing a kiss with crimson lips. The bottle’s top is a crown of faux red cherries, alluding to the sweetness of life and echoing the brightly colored lips. Black elastic straps are embroidered with an aspirational message—spoon me, feed me, love me, accept me. We all deserve to love and be loved, nurtured and accepted. There is an undeniable sensuality at play.
The second bottle is a spoon goddess of sorts. I had so much fun creating this sculpture. The piece is covered with a fabric featuring silver sequins decorated with shimmering leaves and layered spoons that create a skirt effect. The leaves and spoons are a nod to my love of nature and the profound satisfaction I get as a nurturer. The marquise-shaped “jewels” are like precious drops of water enabling us to grow and bloom. I hid a heart behind the back zipper which, like the Tin Man’s, was always there—we just need to encourage the kindness that we already possess. Now is the time to own our identities and know that we can create our own reality at any age.
At 8-feet tall, the third bottle is my tower of hope and love. Over a wallpaper based on my photographic print of a wooden spoon titled “Choice” (2018), I hung chains of silver spoons to symbolize an essential, cyclical truth: we feed our children, our children feed themselves, our children feed their children, our children feed us. The links symbolize how we are bound together, generation to generation. I placed a large banner that reads, “Life is a circle of spoons,” and underneath, I asked, “How will you fill your spoon today?” It’s a simple question, but one that can inspire profound answers. Every time we pick up a spoon, it’s a deliberate choice as to how we will nourish ourselves and one another. I added sayings I sometimes use as an artist and writer printed on 5×5-inch metal plates. I love this tower—an homage to my family and tradition of extending my table, home and heart.
I believe that bold experimentation leads us to new paths, creative expression strengthens us and authentic engagement with one another makes the world a better place. With this project at Bloomingdale’s, I felt empowered to take risks and try new approaches. It’s an amazing feeling to watch people stop and engage (and take selfies, of course). I’m eternally grateful to Bloomingdale’s for this extraordinary opportunity. I hope those who see the installation will be inspired to dream big, too!
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