Urushiol (Leave Them Be)
Linotype on Banana Paper, 12″ x 12″
Urushiol is an oily, organic compound found in plants within the Anacardiaceae family, such as poison ivy, whose distinctive three-leaf form contains two side leaves resembling a pair of reaching hands. Urushiol, in its raw form, is an allergen to much of the population; the Anacardiaceae plant creates discomfort when the boundary is crossed, and in most cases, affected persons seek to wash away the discomfort with soap and water.
In its processed form, Urushiol is the basis for the distinctive, hard coating common in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese lacquerware. The raw form hardens and solidifies to form a protective shell which safeguards the object from minor, everyday mishandling, but which is easily chipped when under intentional or repeated assault.
The design of this work was created from input through interviews with women following the #metoo conversation.