Supper Table Spotlight: Heidi Darr-Hope

We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 7th in our series on Supper Table Artists

Heidi Darr-Hope (photo: Alexis Schwallier for Jasper)

Heidi Darr-Hope (photo: Alexis Schwallier for Jasper)

We were so delighted when Heidi Darr-Hope agreed to join the Supper Table Arts Team. Heidi brings such a sense of intention to everything she does that we knew her participation would result in not just a beautiful place-setting, but a grounding presence among all the artists.

Having worked as a professional artist for over 40 years, Darr-Hope has accumulated many accolades.  She’s proudest of the Elizabeth O'Neil Verner Award – South Carolina’s highest awards in the arts. Her work’s been exhibited and collected around the globe and are influenced by her enthusiastic passion for travel, her quest to understand her nighttime dreams, and her longing to find the quiet in the roar.  Her artworks are expressions of the universal search for meaning.  

Heidi was charged with creating a Supper Table place-setting to honor Sarah and Angelina Grimke, two antebellum sisters from Charleston who went on to become ardent abolitionists and human rights activists.

We knew Heidi would enjoy the process of gathering and assembling the items with which she would create her place-setting, but we were not prepared for the detail the artist put into her project.

In her own words, we’d like to share Heidi’s take on using her art to honor these important SC sisters.

Everyday Family “Heirlooms”

I come from a strong matriarchal lineage – determined, outspoken, liberal independent thinkers.  To represent the Grimke Sisters, I used heirlooms from that lineage - things passed down to me – the china, crystal and silver, the hand embroidered linens and lacework and even the wooden bowl which, growing up, my mother dished up our Saturday night spaghetti dinners in.

The Placemat

Collaged newspaper clippings featuring The Sisters bold abolitionist and equal rights protests comprise the "placemat.”   Their powerful words cradle the visual content of this piece.  “The ground upon which you stand is holy ground; never, never surrender it.  These are causes worth dying for.”

Women Unite, the Writing Quill, Nest and Eggs

Around the inside rim of the wooden bowl are the women who rallied behind The Sisters. Their weapons in this fight were their intellect and wordsmanship.   The writing quill is constructed from a dove feather I found walking in my neighborhood and the nib was given to me by my friend Eileen Blyth.  Her father collected them.  I wanted to give a nod to the men who support these causes as Angelina’s husband, Theodore Weld, did.  Books and knowledge are what fed Sarah and Angelina’s spirits.  They passionately shared these ideas for the advancement of social change, committed to ushering in a new life for the disenfranchised.  The Sisters worked tirelessly to build a secure nest to hold these ideals.

Book of Dreams and Binding Chains

Tucked underneath the bowl is a small book entitled Dreams.  The sisters dreamed of a new societal order, despite the monumental obstacles that stood in their way.  They were determined to break the chains binding the freedom to follow one's individual dreams.

Golden Hearts Within Us All and the Love Purse

Through their faithfulness in the Quaker principals, the Grimke Sisters believed God is found in the hearts of every single human.   In the center of the bowl, the image of The Sisters, clothed in simple evergreen smocks, depicts their hearts radiating a warm, golden, spiritual glow.  They deeply believed that as disciples of God it was their duty to respect and care for all.  To this end, Sarah kept a “love purse” with her at all times.  It contained the savings she made when she always opted for the less expensive purchase.  The difference between what she could afford and what she bought, went into her love purse. There was always someone who needed something, and she gladly made sure they got it.  The love purse can be found tucked just behind the book of dreams.  The coins inside the love purse are duplications of the coins Sarah devotedly saved in her efforts to make the world a better place.

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Napkins, Fork, Spoon, Knife, Shattered China and a Wooden Bowl

Sarah and Angelina were not nourished and fed by the culture they were raised in.  The napkins are blood stained and silverware is bound, rendering them unusable.  The formal china is shattered symbolizing the conventions the sisters rebelled against.  They longed and fought for a culture that honored an equality where all genders and races could be fed respectfully.  The upside-down teacup symbolizes how they gave up the traditions they were born into, in favor of building a new life.  Balanced on top of this, is a crystal goblet nesting this potential life.  The simple wooden bowl holds all these hopes and dreams.

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Please mark your calendars for the weekend of September 6th when we will celebrate Heidi and all the other talented women in the Supper Table Arts Team.

And please consider supporting us as we enter our last few days of fundraising via our Kickstarter campaign. You’re invited to be a part of something truly extraordinary. We have a place for you at the table.