Can you tell me about the plate with the pink lace?
I think you're referring to the Emily Dickinson place-setting. She is considered one of the most famous poets in the history of American literature. Though socially shy, she was outspoken and emotional in her lyric poetry defying the nineteenth-century expectation that women were to be demure and obedient to men. At age 23 Dickinson began to withdraw from society and by the age of thirty, she became a relative recluse, spending most of her days indoors, allowing her to develop her poetry. Using original wordplay, unexpected rhymes, and abrupt line breaks, she bends literary conventions, demonstrating a deep and respectful understanding of formal poetic structure even as she seems to defy its restrictions.
Is Emily Dickinson’s plate made with actual lace?
Yes! The technique is known as ceramic lace and is basically just lace dipped in clay which is then glazed and fired.
I love the Emily Dickinson.
Chicago's use of frilly ceramic lace on the plate symbolizes the frivolity expected of women at the time and what Dickinson was up against.
The technique to make the plate is also one of the more interesting ones.
Actual lace was dipped in porcelain which was then fired. In the kiln, the lace burned off, but the form remained in the porcelain.
Tell me more.
This place setting represents the famous poet, Emily Dickinson. She lived in the US in the 19th century and is considered one of the most influential writers of her time.
Judy Chicago used elaborate lace (that has been dipped in ceramic and fired) to represent Dickinson because it demonstrates the contrast between the frivolity that was expected of women at the time and the way the Dickinson actually lived.
On the Emily Dickinson plate why is there lace, and not on any other plates?
Judy Chicago did research on each woman and tried to include motifs inspired by that woman's time and place and by her accomplishments. Dickinson lived 1830–1886. During the 1800s, women in America often wore clothing decorated with lace, frills, and embroidery.
Chicago was inspired by one of Dickinson's poems: "I hide myself within my flower, That wearing on your breast, You, unsuspecting, wear me too— And angels know the rest."
I know Chicago says the embroidery style reflects
the woman’s epoch but I wonder if there is more in depth info available
about the different styles of embroidery and reasons behind the different
materials that Emily Dickinson's runner is made from?
As you've said, the different techniques relate to the different time periods and women represented. Emily Dickinson's lace-draped plate uses lace and ceramics together to create a lacy plate that appears like a porcelain doll from the period! Chicago was playing a bit with the irony of depicting such a strong, steadfast voice as Dickinson in the frilly lace of her social context.
What was the inspiration behind Emily Dickinson’s plate?
The technique used in this plate is actually different than the others. "Porcelain lace" is created by soaking lace in a porcelain slip and then firing it. The choice of lace has to do with Victorian period ideas of womanhood.
During Emily Dickinson's lifetime, the diligence required to make lace as well as the frivolity of its appearance really encapsulated what women were thought to be. Chicago chose to use it here to highlight the way that Dickinson's creativity was almost smothered by this society.
Part of Judy Chicago's motivation for using ceramics and china painting as a medium in this work was to subvert the associations of these objects with "craft" and "women's work."
We would love to hear what Judy Chicago said about Emily Dickinson's plate.
For this plate, Chicago was inspired by one of Dickinson's poems: "I HIDE myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too—
And angels know the rest."
Chicago said of this plate, which utilizes a technique called lace draping, "My point here is, of course she was a strong woman, but she was almost smothered by the Victorian ideal."