Tag Archives: women’s rights

Women's Work by moonlight

Women’s Work: When Will It End?!?

Women’s Work, a masterwork that has consumed, and fed, my artistic spirit for the last year and half, may finally be coming to an end.  This journey started in September 2019, when I was approached by a representative from the Clinton Foundation about creating an art quilt for Women’s Voices, Women’s Votes, Women’s Rights.  This is an exhibit to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote in the US.  Originally scheduled to open at the Clinton Presidential Library in September 2020, COVID-19 delayed the opening 1 year.  Not to diminish the devastating effects of this virus, but isolating at home gave me the opportunity to create the most ambitious project I’ve ever attempted.

What do you want to do?

This question stopped me in my tracks.  Initially, I couldn’t decide on a single person or event to celebrate in my work; there are just too many options.  The more I researched, the more difficult the decision became. Finally, inspired by Raphael’s painting, School of Athens, I realized that I could create a piece celebrating the work of dozens of women whose voices and deeds have contributed to the fight for women’s votes, rights, and equality.

Inspiration for Women's Work

Raphael’s painting titled School of Athens.

My vision:

In my mind, I saw a gathering of women representing a variety of time periods and vocations, and gifts. I would group them by theme to demonstrate how women’s work has progressed through the centuries, with each generation building on the progress of the previous.

Now, this was a bold, big idea, and big ideas need big space, so I decided to make the piece 10 feet wide and 8 feet tall.  The unintended consequences of this decision are fodder for a  future blog post titled “Bloopers and Blunders”.

How Do You Eat an Elephant?

Having a vision for Women’s Work, and knowing how to bring that vision to fruition are two very different things.  My progress stalled as I just couldn’t decide what to do next. The project was enormous; something like eating an elephant.

One Bite at a Time.

Women's work: Lea drawing a life-size pattern of the quilt

Drawing the pattern

Finally, in November 2019, this vision took off in 2 directions. First, create an appropriate setting

for the composition. Second, choose the women to be represented in the quilt.  The project started to disaggregate into bite size pieces, and I found a way forward.  Hungry for progress, I began to devour the tasks.

On physically active days, I drew a life-sized pattern and built structures from fabric.  I discovered that organza made a great glass ceiling, as pillars morphed into caryatids. All the while, insufficient amounts of fabric prompted creative design decisions.

Women's Work: progress photo shows entry, steps, floor, wing walls, glass ceiling, pediment carving and distant sky

Distant sky is creative solution when there is not enough fabric.

Women's Work: shows first 2 phases of creating building setting of the pictorial quilt.

Glass ceiling and marble floor.

 

 

 

 

 

Women's Work in progress: working out statuary.

Working out statuary with paper versions.

On mentally active days, I researched women and their achievements. Going “old school”, I

Lea doing research for Women's Work

Lea, conducting research for Women’s Work

wrote information about each woman on a 3×5 notecards.  Over and over, I laid them out, rearranged,, stacked, and paper clipped them.

Now, with Women’s Work is nearly complete, I’m impatient to share what I have done. Please, subscribe to this blog to get the full story. (A pop up window will appear when you leave this page.)  In the months to come, I’ll share essays about the women who are depicted in the work, (there are more than 50) and tell you more stories about how the quilt was made. Later, when the conditions are right, I invite you will join me to see the quilt in person.

Women's Work by moonlight

Solo exhibit in the time of COVID

 

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Women, Peace and Security

Wow! I’m going to Geneva to speak at the United Nations Headquarter for Europe.  When I was asked to speak, I immediately said, “YES”.  It was 2 hours later, on my drive home from work that I had the anxiety attack, “What would I say?  What would I wear?  The journey to this point was short and sweet.

The Mending

The Mending

My fist project of the new year was to complete a small art quilt for an exhibit to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security.  I discovered the event through a Facebook friend who directed me to the QuiltChallenge.org website.  (Thanks, Rose!)  I was a late comer to the party (15 days to the deadline), but inspiration hit and I was able to complete the piece in time.  Here is a photo of the quilt and the accompanying artist statement:

Women, the world over, toil daily to provide essentials for their families.  They strive to provide such tangibles as food, clothing, shelter, and the intangibles of safety, security,  and love.  Such tasks are further complicated by relentless threats of destruction.   Women find themselves continually mending the fabric of their lives, trying to restore beauty and function in the aftermath of war, greed, and lust.

This quilt began as a collage of photos collected over a decade of living, working, and traveling overseas.  Many are my own.  A friend who has traveled extensively as a medical volunteer contributed others.  The quilt top was then torn, cut, burned and shot; literally, tearing families apart. Finally, the woman’s hands are shown working to stop the destruction, mend the damage, and repair the vision.

Shortly after submitting the work, I was notified that it would be included in the exhibit, that it would open at the beginning of March in Geneva and then later travel to DC  and NY.  As if that wasn’t thrill enough, my husband proposed that we travel to Geneva to see the exhibit.  The trip was his gift to me to celebrate my 50th birthday.  And the icing on the birthday cake: being asked to speak at the opening reception as one of the quilters.

I took on this challenge because I thought it would be a great way to connect and gain deeper understanding of the challenges faced by women around the world.  I believed it would be an enlightening and rewarding experience; I never expected it to be so exciting!

The Mending - Close up of hands

 

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