The Canopy



The Canopy. 2012. 12′ x 10′ x 18′.  Vintage doilies and lace.


A canopy bed is an iconic symbol from fairy-tales, dreams, childhood, romance novels, historical interiors, and personal furnishings. It means different things to different people. Despite modern technology and changes in advertisements and parenting practices, most little girls in America still dream of a canopy bed … like their mothers did, like their grandmothers did. For some, a canopy bed represents the security of the womb. For others, a canopy bed represents an ideal or a “Happily Ever After” promise for the future. Canopies represent protection but also sexual fulfillment or marital bliss.

Canopy beds are frequently associated with the preciousness of feminine childhood, a concept largely manufactured by an adult society. In it, the idealized girl carries all the dreams for her parents. So, is this magical sleeping arrangement really the child’s desire or is it projected by the hopes of adults? So often, childhood memories are searched as an explanation of adult discontent. How does the fantasy of a canopy bed figure into the loss of happiness?

Personally, I am interested in the concept of childhood memories, especially how the canopy bed seems to stay part of little girls’ collective desires through generations. Toys, playtime, hopes for the future, stereotypical gender roles, adult nostalgia, a parent’s vision for an archetype child, and the threads that stitch together fairy-tales where all part of my imagination and thought processes while sitting on a cement floor stitching the labors of untold numbers of other women’s household linens into The Canopy.

The photo above shows the work at Studios Midwest, an artist residency program in Galesburg, Illinois.  The piece was made on the floor in this space.  The photo below shows The Canopy at the Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City, South Carolina during ArtFields 2013, a 10-day arts festival and competition.  The Canopy has been shown at 701 Center for Contemporary Arts in Columbia, South Carolina  and at The Foundry in St. Charles, Missouri during Fiber Fever, an international juried exhibit.

62_Canopy at Artfields with me stitching

Lenz, Canopy, detail 1