Pratt Institute School of Design

MOTHERING & CAREGIVING
Kelly Waldron
This thesis analyzes the relationship between mothering and caregiving through place, identity and ritual. I am interested in how created communities shape the roles of mothers and caregivers. I deconstruct mothering and caregiving by investigating the topics through these three lenses; place, identity, and ritual. I look toward the NYC Ballroom culture to challenge the contemporary dialogue on how Western society defines mothering. The House Mother’s role mixes traditional mothering values with the freedom to care, or mother, as one chooses. The use of ritual, the importance of place, and the construction of identity solidifies the feeling of belonging that has allowed this community to thrive since the eighties. The societal roles placed on women and girls throughout mainstream society are transformed among this self-designed community. I argue we should take inspiration from the House Mothers’ strength, independence, and creativity to design a new system of Mothering to pass on to our future generations. .

This documentation of my capstone prototype is a project exploring color and form.

The structure pictured here is documentation of capstone prototype testing with extreme users.
Capstone Prototype testing.
Capstone Prototype testing. Visit https://caregivingdesignbuild.cargo.site for the COVID-19 pandemic version of my capstone and thesis.

This is one project of a series exploring the remixing of materials and statistics about mothering and caregiving. In this project I used salt and spices to create a dialog about mothering and salaries.

100 days of dish washing. This is a project exploring ritual through caretaking activities. Each day I placed a Venus newsprint print on the bottom of my dish rack and washed my dishes. Each individual print was morphed differently by the change in water used in the task of dishwashing.
Typographic animation created with personal stories about mothers and mothering.

Documentation of Mother Stories video display. I chose to display the video on a Television inside a taped box with a single seat because I wanted to invite the viewer into a personal space where they could watch and listen to the writers stories about their mothers.

Detail of a collection of journal entries from users who participated in my caregiving and mothering cultural probe.

This is one project of a series exploring the remixing of materials and statistics about mothering and caregiving. In this project I used salt and spices to create a dialog about mothering and salaries.

Detail of a linguistic project exploring how we view the words mother, mothering, and motherhood.