Sometimes a hat defines you as an extrovert. At the very least, it reflects your personality in a not-so-subtle way.
But what if a hat was something you could disappear into?
That’s part of the fun of Janice Jakielski’s new “Constructing Solitude” exhibit in the small gallery at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
Inspired by Amish bonnets and her grandmother’s hats from the 1930s, Jakielski has created a collection of headdresses that would allow their wearers to retreat behind goggle-like eye covers and ear-flaps, effectively shutting out sights and sounds.
The bluebird embroidered on the eye cover of “Auspicium” immediately took me to my Girl Scout days – wasn’t there a patch just like that? I can’t remember what tasks had to be completed to earn it, but it was always one of my favorites.
Jakielski’s piece, of course, has more going on than that. “Auspicium,” the press materials explain, is “a form of divination that interprets signs from the gods through the flight or migration patterns of birds.”
The artist also embellishes her work with floral imagery, sometimes rendered in bits of porcelain. These aren’t random flowers, but pretty petals that signify emotions and messages, using ideas drawn from the Victorian “Language of Flowers.” Curator Anna Walker describes the elements as “metaphorical layers of meaning.”
You can’t try the headpieces on, but you can check out a mixed-media vignette through the handmade cylindrical goggles in Jakielski’s interactive installation.
Like her fanciful headgear, it might not be what you expect.
“Constructing Solitude” is on display through May 5 at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, 4848 Main, 713-529-4848, crafthouston.org. Also on view is the 2013 NCECA Biennial exhibition and the ClayHouston Member Show. Free admission.
By Molly Glentzer for Chron.com