Artist Statement

 I work with women’s clothing; dipping, soaking, engulfing, layering dresses and blouses in plaster. I think about the previous wearers, unknown to me, or am reminded of loved ones from my past. At times, I am even reminded of myself.

 As humans, we are constantly managing our emotions and how we react to our environments and stimuli. In this series, I emotionally investigate how generations of women perceived their domestic roles. I especially consider situations where women felt pressure from family, society, traditions, etc., to surrender or suspend their aspirations for a domestic lifestyle. For some, this choice led to fulfillment and a sense of purpose as mothers and wives.

 And for others… it just didn’t. I imagine these women, having surrendered to these ideals, find that they have lost whole parts of themselves.

 I deliberately encase sections of clothing leaving details like buttons or collars to become the sole identifiers for the object. These once whole and life-filled articles of clothing are now flattened and obscured, foreign and incomplete. Through the manipulation of these personal items, I attempt to create visual metaphors for emotional conflicts that appear to have no resolution.


Jessica Heikes received her BFA from Pittsburg State University in Kansas and later pursued post-baccalaureate studies in glass blowing and sculpture. Soon after she was accepted into the reputable Core Fellow Program at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, a two-year live/work program that provides access to workshops in multiple media-specific studios. Eager to focus on conceptual development, she turned to graduate school and received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Jessica now resides in Kansas City working full-time on a fabrication team creating traveling art exhibits for a non-profit organization. In her personal studio, her art practice is experiment based, combining plaster and clothing to metaphorically describe issues regarding human presence and identity.

Images by E.G. Schempf