12-layer screenprint on Stonehenge paper
edition of 24, published by Pressure Club, Philadelphia
solid brass, carbon steel blade, and beech base
While digging through a family archive, artist Jon Weary found cross-stitch patterns that had been hand colored by his late mother. She used a series of symbols on the black and white patterns to show her progress and to organize the process of the embroidery. Weary’s print mimics this process of using color to measure time, to determine design, and to connect his creative practice with his mother’s. The impetus for making the print is hauntingly personal for Weary, but the print also is suggestive of early American samplers, a craft used for educational and domestic instruction. Samplers were used for learning the alphabet, illustrating a variety of possible decorative motifs in sewing, and reciting religious sayings or proverbs. Weary imparts this folksy wisdom in the margins of his print – “inch by inch, anything is a cinch” – and appropriates the flowery designs of his predecessors.
The Shakers, a utopian, religious sect founded in the 18th century that promoted pacifism, gender equity, and communal living, often displayed these tenets through their own embroidered samplers. The central text of Weary’s work, “Lay Me Low Where Mother May Find Me,” at once is a poignant intimation of his mother and a more oblique allusion to the matriarchal revelations of the Shakers. In addition to their dedication to hard work, simplicity, labor, equity between men and women, the Shakers believed that making something well was in itself "an act of prayer.” Similarly, Høvel celebrates simple, traditional craftsmanship, manual labor, and perfection. Høvel is an entirely reimagined pencil sharpener; the pencil plane enables the user to whittle a pencil to any desired point. Its unique mechanism prevents the lead from breaking, unlike common sharpeners that twist and snap graphite.
Jon Weary is an artist based in Philadelphia. Unframed copies of this limited edition print are also for sale from The Pressure Club, an artist printshop and gallery in Philadelphia (thepressureclub.wordpress.com). The founders of Makers Cabinet are Odin Ardaugh (Norway), Noah Bier, (London, UK), and Benjamin Weininger (Los Angeles, CA).