Living in a rural environment causes me to reflect on the cultural ideology of setting. Many people choose to live in a rural setting out of the desire for space, solitude, peace and quiet, and safety. For whatever reason, be it the perception of safety and protection, the remnants of the wild west, an unwarranted fear of others, or a defense of private space, Americans have an overabundance of guns per household, and it seems as though the amount of guns per household increases incrementally as the setting becomes more rural. Although more individuals in rural populations hunt, many guns are kept for “protection.” The assumption or belief that guns will protect people is an illusion of safety that becomes a paradox. When danger and threat result from attempts at safety and protection, or when the object of safety is dangerous itself, as in the case of armament backed by machismo, a quiet arms race can ensue, even in the rural places of America, where stereotypic perceptions are still that of pastoral utopias.
I have collaborated with my wife Lorraine Barlow on most of these pieces, which involve complex hand knit elements. They could not have been completed without her astonishing skill.