This work takes its name from the psychological reaction that occurs in response to a harmful or threatening situation. It is a reversible caplet; one side is stitched with a bib shaped collection of porcelain human teeth replicas, the other has a generous covering of feathers from an important Australian cultural icon and (ironically) flightless bird, the Emu.
Made for my daughter, the caplet can be worn baring teeth or displaying feathers depending on the chosen response to a situation. The work embodies the dual purposes of watching over a child in the mother’s absence and shielding the child from the ‘bad’ mother’s presence.
Each of my garments are enriched with talismans, amulets and charms, and laced with traces of strangely familiar, slightly subverted fairy tales and myths. Their construction incorporates the psychological agency of biological materials such hair, eyelashes and nails collected from family members as well as native and introduced animals.
Danielle Hobbs explores ideologies, contradictions and complexities of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ motherhood with her labour intensive, fastidiously crafted wardrobe of clothes for her children, offering a poetic response to her experience of Postnatal Depression.
Danielle Hobbs is a lecturer in visual art at La Trobe University, Melbourne. She graduated from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology with an MA in Visual Arts in 2013.