Donna Castellanos
Portrait of a grey-haired woman composed entirely of fabric and sewing supplies.

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Bertha, I’d like to know where you got the notion
Collection of the artist

Donna Castellanos creates artworks using found objects that have been appreciated, things with history. Bertha, I’d like to know where you got the notion is a portrait of her grandmother, who was born in a small town in Missouri in 1917. When Bertha was young, she worked at a sewing factory installing zippers. The love of textiles and needlecraft has passed down through the generations, to the artist’s mother and aunts, and to Castellanos, who collectively stitched this homage.

Made entirely with zippers, pins, threads, buttons, knitting needles, and other “sewing notions” that the artist fastened onto fabric, this portrait plays with the idea of a coquette elderly woman who possesses her own notions or inclinations. While portrayed in a home interior, Bertha is anything but domesticated or passive. With silver swirling curls, breasts made of pin cushions, and a lit cigarette resting in an ashtray, she stands assertively, accompanied by her cat.