Charlet Davenport, Amour not Armor

Glazed ceramic on wooden plaques
(four components measuring 24 x 20 x 4 ins. each)

The four ceramic breast plates and masks installed at the Bennington Museum’s outdoor 2021 exhibit, Amour Versus Armor, were my response to a disturbing black and white New York Times photograph of guards lined up in our nations capitol in the summer of 2020. These feminine breast plates and masks were the result of using my hands in clay to imprint textures which reflect familiar expressions of amour embedded by the hands of women in practical and beautiful work over time. This loving “muse like’ presence has appeared more often over the last decade as I reached my 80th year.

1. The green sculpture is imprinted from using a rolling pin to impress the crocheted texture of a special table cloth, a gift to me from Grammy Davenport, my grand children’s great grandmother. Gram created all manner of beautiful useful art…braided rugs, hooked carpet and of course knitting for many generations.

2. The blue mask and breast plate is made out of braids of clay I formed remembering my mother teaching me to braid my own hair.

3. The golden breast plate and mask has life size chameleon fossil like shapes impressed in the clay. This work recalled being with grand children (adults now ) watching what seemed a miracle of nature noticing these small beings could change color as they moved around.

4. The yellow pair has blossoms which I stamped into the clay to symbolize the flowers holding memories of the women planting, seeding, weeding…and creating bouquets.

These forms are now a small tribute to the love through artful work over generations…which inspire me with a special kind of love.

Charlet Davenport is the Director/ founder of Sculpture Fest in Woodstock, Vermont. She has been a practicing artist exhibiting since 1965 (painting, installations , ceramic, sculpture). Davenport is currently a presenter /leader of Life Long Learning courses through ILEAD and OSHER through Dartmouth College adult continuing learning program and a trustee of the Saint Gaudens Memorial Trust. She is a past board member of Vermont Council on the Arts and a past regional reviewer for Art New England.