"A coat of arms for the guild of menopause" Syrup Jar by Katrin Moye

‘A Menopause In Maiolica’ is my project for Collect Open, and is my response to the experience I’ve had of menopause, using the style and visual language of Italian Renaissance Maiolica pharmacy jars to depict various aspects of ‘the change’, both negative and positive. The six large-scale pharmacy jars and vases I’ve made are directly inspired by particular examples of Renaissance Maiolica that I saw in museums including the Courtauld and the V&A, that took my breath away with their scale, intricacy, inventiveness and beauty.  The Italy of 500 years or so ago has never felt so immediate and alive for me – I hope to share this feeling with my new work. The intricately decorated, illustrative style of Italian Renaissance Maiolica, together with the elegant shapes and sinuous, twisting ‘snake’ handles gives me the ideal visual language with which to link the experience of women through history, and I’ve really enjoyed researching and creating my own versions of this beautiful style. I decided to focus on recreating typical pharmacy jar shapes with this collection – albarello jars, wet drug jars and so on, and found the research part of this project absolutely fascinating.  I’ve written about this in much more detail in an article which will be available to read on my website soon.

I want to reinforce the message that menopause is an event that all women throughout history who have lived to this time of life share – it isn’t something to hide, or feel shame about – it’s just biology, doing what it should.  I also feel very lucky to be part of the post-feminist generation of women (in Western culture at least) who feel able to openly talk about this subject – one that has been sorely under-represented in Western culture until very recently. Whether menopause is something you have lived alongside, have experienced or are going to experience in the future, I hope my pharmacy jars and their depictions resonate with you as much as they have helped me to negotiate and come to terms with this pivotal time of life.

SKU KA/MO002 Artist

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