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fair ribbons pig
pig portrait caroline freese


4-H show prize ribbons, baling twine, paint, yarn, and hot glue on plywood

34"w x 60"h


My most recent collage artwork comprises all of the 4-H fair prize ribbons I won over the nine years I exhibited a menagerie of animals and artwork at the Warren County Fair in Iowa. Consisting of nearly 150 ribbons of 10 colors, this project puts my summer success into a lasting Andy Warhol-esc artwork. I mean, what do you do with 150 ribbons when you're trying to clean out your childhood bedroom?

The photograph I used as a reference is one I took of my fair pig in the spring, when the little guy was still small enough to stick his nose through the heavy metal fence. I crouched down and pointed my camera up at him, capturing the snout in all its glory. To this day, it is one of my favorite photos.

The pig is outlined with yellow yarn from the ribbons, which was used to hang and display them. The background is spiraling baling twine from our family’s farm. The blue color is the actual color of the twine, and I fell in love with it during the many hours of gluing.

This piece moves as you walk by it. The reflecting gold lettering from the ribbons, mixed with the grain of the fabric, creates an always altering appearance. This can only be truly appreciated in person.

My summers were filled with all the excitement and anxiety a kid could expect from putting their skills in animal care and handling on display for the judges. This artwork captures 4-H and fairs for me and for any kid that grew up in that world of competition. Summers were spent taking care of animals, then days and days at the fairgrounds, while occasionally being yelled at by parents. Your achievements are printed in the local newspaper, win or lose. Finally, you say goodbye to the animal that occupied your summer.


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