Betsy Odom Statement
My work explores the ephemera surrounding displays of identity. I work with specific materials like tooled leather, sporty fabrics, cork, graphite, thick silver, and airbrushed paints. These materials signify the cultural phenomena that have surrounded my own development: Southern culture, women’s athletics, tomboys, hobbyists, fantasy, or camp. The aesthetics of these groups, although rooted in functionality, often serve to reinforce embedded messages about gender, class, race, and sexuality. I attempt to use a combination of earnest craftsmanship and humor to extract and subvert these messages, creating objects that entertain a fantasy of moving freely among social groups and confronting the contradictions therein.
I employ a variety of techniques to create my work; I use skills ranging from leather tooling to woodworking, ceramics to airbrushing, sewing to metalworking. Although I often subvert these traditional processes, I try to stay true to the original crafts I reference. I fully engage in the “hubris” of making, examining the ways a well-crafted object can point to a larger sense of pride, value, and identity. I direct my own “pride in making” towards the creation of specific objects with symbolic, romantic, and humorous meaning.