Accession Number


Ann Hamilton

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
gold thimble, silver thimble, horsehair, wood and glass

3 3/8 x 33 9/16 x 7 1/2 in. (8.5 x 85.1 x 19 cm);3 3/8 x 33 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (8.5 x 85 x 19 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the W. Hawkins Ferry Fund

Label copy
March 28, 2009
As an artist, Anne Hamilton is interested in language as well as visual form, and sees the two as related and interchangeable. In Hamilton’s practice, activities such as writing, sewing, and embroidery are often transformed into a form of drawing. In this work, the entire text of Susan Stewart’s poem Cinder is photo-etched in filigree into the gold thimble, while the silver thimble’s pore-like holes are threaded with single strands of horsehair. While the poem can be read by turning the gold thimble, its pattern of open tracery teeters on the edge of abstraction.
We needed fire to make
the tongs and tongs to hold
us from the flame; we needed
ash to clean the cloth
and cloth to clean the ash’s
stain; we needed stars
to find our way, to make
the light that blurred the stars;
we needed death to mark
an end, an end that time
in time could mend.
Born in love, the consequence—
born of love, the need.
Tell me, ravaged singer,
how the cinder bears the seed.

Subject matter
Scripts of love and romance. The failure of language to communicate clearly. Fairy tale fantasies of children.

Physical Description
A long wooden box divided into two compartments, one small and one large. The small compartment contains an intricately worked gold thimble inscribed with a poem. The long compartment contains a silver thimble in which horse hairs have been threaded. The tuft of horse hair runs the length of the long compartment.

Primary Object Classification
Mixed Media

Primary Object Type

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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assemblages (sculpture)
boxes (containers)
hair (material)
horses (equipment)
scripts (writing)

& Author Notes

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