The Navigator

The Navigator
Kristen Cliffel
August 11, 1967
Artist Biography
Acquisition Number: 2020.9
Medium: Low fire clay, glaze, gold luster, wood, and resin
Size: 20 x 36 x 17 in.
Date: 2019
Credit: Purchased by the Canton Museum of Art with funds from the Doran Foundation in memory of Edward A. and Rosa J. Langenbach

Cliffel’s pieces focus on domesticity and raising a family and are pulled from her own experiences as a mother. “The Navigator” depicts a blue bird inside of a gold nest inside of a boat, with the meaning that Kristen, as a mother, is trying to navigate her children in the right direction. The bird represents the moment in her life of her son leaving home. The bird is too large for the nest, symbolizing that he is ready to go off on his own, but at the same time he is very childlike, with small wings that prevent him from flying off. The nest is gold, symbolizing something of value that is treasured. Home has always been important and valuable to Kristen and something that she has given to her children.