Deidre Hardin is an Artist who uses art as her visual testimony. She is the only child of Ethel and Lawrence McNeal, a wife of 31yrs. to Keith, a mother of three, former art teacher, a Lupus survivor and a Heart Transplant survivor, but most of all, a child of God.
In 2002 she experienced a severe health crisis related to SLE Lupus. It affected her nervous system in the form of several mini strokes, lowered her immune system and caused her body to battle itself. With a lowered immunity, teaching in the classroom became impossible, and medical retirement from art education soon followed. Lupus isn't just pain, fatigue and joint stiffness. It's a complete physical, mental and emotional assault on the body. In her research for natural remedies outside of pills and topical steroids for pain relief, she learned that untreated copper is a natural element benefiting circulatory and nerve cell health. She began creating rings and bracelets to keep her hands malleable to continue creating art as a form of self-prescribed art therapy. It has been part of her armor of protection for over twenty years. In her opinion, lupus is equivalent to the pain experienced by the Tinman in the Wiz! "Slide some oil to me, let it trickle down my spine; slide some oil to my brain, and let it lubricate my mind!" She, too, embarked on an assiduous journey to see the WIZ for a heart and happily nicknamed herself THE TIN WOMAN! Her inside joke with herself is, "I'm going to make a full body of armor like the Iron Man; but in copper!!! I could rejuvenate by wearing it each night to prepare for the next day!" Deidre found peace as she twisted, hammered and layered copper designs into pieces that reflected her health journey. A parallel full of twists, turns, spirals, and a beaten surface that looked like chaos. It became her signature and copper design style. "From my pain, came purpose. I don't take the ability to create for granted after what I've experienced healthwise. I was very close to losing the ability to do what I love; creating art."
The Tin Woman sculptures reflect the complexities of the human nervous and skeletal systems, while the clay is applied in patches as a form of protective covering over the necessities for daily function. An ongoing enigma of falling apart and pulling it together; or discarding what no longer serves. She also applies mixed media objects into feminine armor as wall sculptures. Her representation of strength against seen and unseen battles, and pearls of wisdom gained. "After all, shouldn't women put on their Armor of God with style and flair" All of the work is not intended to be viewed as solely personal but attempts to reflect the individual and universal sensations of what it looks and feels like living with a chronic illness. Its "a riddle wrapped in a mystery; inside and enigma."- Winston Churchill.
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