This summer is zooming by! I'm working on lot's of mini projects right now and I'm really excited about where they're leading me artistically. I'm also taking three grad courses that are a bit challenging (accounting, visual arts management and thesis development). I've decided to focus on work and grad school while making my own work this summer and next semester. I'm always tempted to do another part-time sort of thing, but I should take it easier.
I want to talk about a project I've been posting about on social media. I've sort of hinted at it but haven't fully disclosed what I'm working on in the interwebs. Sunshine Art and Design Gallery is hosting it's last show after what has been an incredible three year one. I've worked with Annie and Sunshine in various ways those three years and it's been a pleasure getting to know the Lancaster art' community. There's so much love for art and creativity right now and it's really great to see people embracing risk. A while ago Annie asked if I had any ideas for the bathroom but at the time I couldn't think of anything that wasn't silly. So, I waited and sort of returned to the idea again and again. In a late night moment of inspiration (and pun-filled delirium) I thought about the possibility of engaging women and people with periods in a sort of collaborative venture. I had made my embroidered liners for Cycle Piece a few weeks before and have been since obsessed with menstrual products. I thought about how I've been playing with materials that are steeped in femininity yet using them to discuss somewhat gross subject-matter. So liner quilt was born.
I've been stitching panty-liners into a quilt for the past month. I decided to include emblems of menstruation and sort of jokey, floral motifs to play with the way we have always viewed menstruation. Menstrual product packages are commonly decorated in pukey pinks and floral packages, sometimes scented, and sometimes almost too-cute to bleed on. I wanted to engage that imagery while also sewing in beaded blood and discharge stains as well as vulva and pubic hair images throughout the quilt.
The quilt, while fun and exciting still didn't seem like enough. I decided that I should let myself a little punny. I'm already being a bit kitschy so why not. So I started sewing in some non-embroidered liners so that people can share their thoughts, experiences, or feelings about menstruation. I like to think of them as one-liners on one liner. Get it???
The piece will be installed in the bathroom of Sunshine and I'll supply pens for people to use to share they're stories. My hope is that the quilt will be full of a wide variety of experiences. It will encourage conversations about something we often hide from. It will allow people with periods to take back they're narrative and be open about what it's like or maybe what they didn't know, what they experienced or didn't experienced, what they love or hate about menstruation etc. I'm excited about the possibilities and I'll be documenting it as the stories expand. I encourage participants to take some control over the piece and I hope the conversations don't end in that bathroom.
Lastly, I will be collecting menstrual products to donate to local shelters. Many women and people with periods living in transition need menstrual products but don't have access to them. I will have a collection box in the gallery for anyone who wants to contribute.