All Things Feminine

Sometimes words create a thousand pictures, at least that is the case for the Narrative Threads exhibit that opened this past Friday (June 29, 2012). The exhibit is a collaboration of quilt artist and writers and is sponsored by the Professional Art Quilters Alliance-South (PAQA-S) and Sharon Elizabeth Wood, a creative writing coach and consultant.

Each of the 19 collaborative pairs created original works of art and writing which are displayed side-by-side in the exhibit rooms at Page-Walker Arts and History Center in Cary, NC. The exhibit is open to the public until August 27, 2012. It is most impressive to see how the words come to life.

My writing partner was Anne Barnhill who recently published “At the Mercy of the Queen,” a historical fiction novel about the court of Henry VIII, and notably Anne Boleyn. For this exhibit, Anne and I decided to put our focus on Moon Goddesses. She worked on the poetry while I worked on the quilt.

I was fascinated that the Greek Moon Goddess, Artemis, was a hunter. I envisioned her strength. There was a time that I tried shooting a bow and arrow. I felt very weak pulling the sting back far enough to make the arrow become airborne. To hunt at the time of Artemis and actually use a bow to gain your next meal, you must have needed tremendous strength, concentration, and stamina. My goddess needed to appear powerful.

When you look at the quilt, you see the divine figure, but there are also hidden symbols in this quilt. Through the development of our collaboration Anne and I reflected on how the cycle of the moon (29 days) relates to the female reproductive cycle. For obvious reasons, it became clear to me that the moon in this quilt had to be red. The swirls in the moon also had to be reflected in the Goddess.

Through our collaboration, Anne and I had numerous conversations about women and cancer. As we age, it seems breast and uterine cancer are common amongst our peers. Within their ranks we see the struggles, the fear, the fight and the determination these women possess. Like the Moon Goddess, they show the inner strength of a powerful hunter. Within the gown of my quilted goddess, you will see my acknowledgement in symbolism of these brave women. Can you see them?

And finally, to be strong and powerful does not mean you can’t be gentle and refined. To represent the softer side of feminine, within the blades of grass at her feet, I presented my goddess with tiny delicate flowers.

The quilt is a homage to all things feminine.

3 comments

  1. Anne Barnhill says:

    This is lovely, Nanette! I’m sharing it with my page. What a great explanation and tribute to our project.
    Love you bunches!

  2. Sauda Zahra says:

    Beautiful narrative about your quilt! I love the way you incorporated subtle, yet powerful symbolism and imagery. A wonderful celebration of the power of women!!

  3. Nanette, I loved reading about your art quilt, especially about the symbolism and how it relates to Ann’s writing. I wish I had more time at the opening reception to speak in lenght to you and each individual artistthere since I now feel like I missed so much. The evening seemed to be over in the blink of an eye. If I lived closer, I would ge back time and time again for several more leisurely and thoughtful examination of all the works but I am glad you have posted this blog so I could learn more about Artemis. Perhaps others of us will follow your example and write about their thought processes in the creation of their artwork. Thank you Nanette.

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