Dust Bunnies, Hand Soaps, Hair Brushes

Suzanne Proulx

This is a series of sculptural household visual puns that have metaphorical meaning. Dust Bunnies is an ongoing project that started years ago. The original impulse was a humorous one, thinking about visual punning and how dust bunnies seemed to invade my house and multiply just as wild rabbits were infesting the neighborhood, eating my newly-planted annuals.  I had recently had a baby and was reflecting on my inner conflict between routine domestic duties versus my creative needs. 

As I worked on the rabbits, they started to take on a different meaning. I became like a household forensic scientist as I noticed bits and pieces of detritus that mark events in our house and the passing of time, things such as toenail clippings, Christmas tree needles, flakes of skin, hair.

In Hand Soaps I cast my own and my nuclear and extended family’s hands in soap, including aging parents, and nieces and nephews soon after birth. Our family used each other’s “hand soaps” daily. The routine act of washing my hands becomes a ritual of thinking of that person. The soaps acquire a “patina” from use, as dirt from the real hand is transferred to the soap hand, they shrink and eventually the hands start to disappear with use.  The Hairbrush and Toothbrush series also mark time, using my son’s molars he lost at age ten in one tooth brush, his baby hair for Baby Brush, and my hair plucked from my head, sorted and gradated from black hair to white (as I turned 40) in Brush, Past, Present, Future.