I had a great meeting with my mentor, Helen Hoffelt, this past Wednesday. I showed her some of the craftwork I had started and explained my struggle with the work being too kitsch or for those not in the art world- a bit too crafty/tacky and over the top. I liked the thought process I was going through and thinking about menstruation along with the physical and emotional weakness of the female body as a means to result in inferiority as gender and so we started throwing some ideas around. She enjoyed the feminine materials I was using and so we worked off of that a bit.
I have a quilt in my studio that I made in 2013. I printed a female nude and used some basic floral fabric as trim to recreate the nude image as a squared quilt. Both Helen and I enjoy the piece, but she made an excellent point… the image is too soft or safe. She brought up the fact that I am trying to talk about raw, real, and personal topics but the image on that quilt isn’t a raw image or even personal for that matter. It’s also a cropped image so the figure has no face and her full body isn’t exposed – she becomes an object and not necessarily a “person.” Anyway, throughout our discussion we kept talking about experience and how I want to make comments and start conversation about the experience of being a woman: the stress that a woman’s body endures and then in turn, emotionally as well.
So for now, I am making a call to those who bleed. I am looking for stories that share personal experience from any person that has experienced and/or continues to experience menstruation. I am asking that the stories or statements be hand written and mailed to me in Columbus, Ohio. I think this will add an element of personal narrative that otherwise would be lost in type or email messaging. If you are interested in participating in the project please contact me and I will send you my personal address. Also- please see below for a more detailed description of what I am looking for. Right now I don’t know exactly what I will do with these stories, but the wheels are definitely turning.
Everyone experiences womanhood differently and each experience is inherently personal. I’d really appreciate if you’d be willing to share with me any experience you have had with your period that sticks out to you. Perhaps a short paragraph or few sentences about the first time it happened, where and when? How did you feel? Or if it’s something that you constantly struggle with for example, excessive cramping or fatigue that keeps you from work or school, please share. Emotionally how do you usually feel? Do you act differently towards anyone or anything? Do you find yourself more on edge and maybe have a story to tell about a time you emotionally lost it, simply because your hormones were out of whack. To anyone that has been pregnant as well, how was that experience for you? What was it like to actually not have your period for an extended amount of time, but instead have other hormonal things going on? Truly it is totally up to you how much you want to share and how detailed you want to be. I’ll take whatever you’re willing to give, whether it be a sentence, a word, a paragraph, etc.
I am truly humbled and amazed by the amount of people that have reached out and offered to be part of this, so thank you! I can’t wait to see what it comes of it all!