You've Come a Long Way, Baby

 

An exploration of the influences on women in regards to smoking

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby was inspired by an ashtray I found in my grandma’s things after she passed away. You can see the ashtray, open, in the middle, with the little flip book in it. The ashtray, called a Silent Butler, was named after the device used in the late 1800s to collect table crumbs and ashes.

 

The cigarette pack has an accordion book inside with vintage advertisements, aimed at women, from the early 1900s to the 1970s juxtaposed with passages from medical books from the same timeframes. There is a paragraph from a 1960′s era medical book that informs ladies that, although they probably won’t feel like smoking for the first three months of their pregnancies, they’ll be fine to resume in the next trimester.

 

The book in the Silent Butler ashtray is a flip book with a girl about the age my grandmother was when she started smoking. She is holding a cigarette and as you flip the pages her lungs change from pink to an unhealthy shade. It ends, perhaps a bit melodramatically, with a gravestone.

 

The matchbook has a vintage ad on the back and stats on the front about a depressing term called YPLL. Years per life lost. In the case of smokers, the CDC estimates YPLL of 12 years per person.

 

The last element, a handkerchief made using printable cotton, features the colophon dedicated to my grandma, Virginia Elizabeth Ginn.
 

Unique mixed media artist's book; found photographs and ephemera; Accordion structure presented in a cigarette box, flip book presented in a Silent Butler ashtray, custom matchbook and handkerchief.

 

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© 2006-2019 by Ginger R. Burrell. All Rights Reserved.