Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Woman of Valour

A difficult text. Don't analyze it. Just hear the love, the appreciation, the awe for what women accomplish. We can aspire to be everything that the words describe, and more. The postcards that I created with "A Woman of Valour" as my inspiration are almost ready to fly around the world. The creative effort has kept me rooted in my head for the last couple of months. It has been a time of dreaming and problem solving rather than my usual creative enterprise of sitting at my sewing machine for hour after hour.

First - fabric dye with sparkles sponged over a cut out of a woman's profile onto commercial cotton

Second - the fabric is pressed onto a 4 by 6 piece of Fast 2 Fuse (in some cases the base fabric is the portrait in many it is navy fabric with a crisscross Magen David pattern)

Third - on the cards with the Magen David fabric the portrait is machine appliqued

Fourth - a line of quilting to delineate the features

Fifth - remnants from cutting fat quarters are used to make the woman's hair

Sixth - fabric markers are used to enhance her features and to add symbols (Heart, Hamsa, Magen David) to some of the cards

Seventh - a white rectangle of fabric with these handwritten words is pressed to the back of each card :

Self Portrait as a Woman of Valour
Full of Beauty, Love and Imperfection.

Eighth - more fabric remnants are zigzagged around the edges to frame the card and hold the layers together

Ninth - make two more postcards because when I went to the address list I realized I was supposed to make fourteen of them!

As I worked on these cards I found myself relishing the flaws. The way the faces looked less and less real, threads dangling from the stitching and and from the fabric remnants. When I showed them to my family they saw some of them as masculine and had trouble seeing the face in some of them. I welcome this ambiguity.

From my Journal:

Self Portrait as a Woman of Valour

Each card is unique. Each has its own beauty and its own flaws, just as I do each time I look in the mirror. I am grateful to the author of this prayer and to our tradition which honours "women's work".

When I was in second year University a young man in my program felt empowered to classify the women he studied with as GW or not GW. I had the honour of being proclaimed not a GW - not a Good Woman. Sadly he was struck down by cancer before graduation so I never had the opportunity to speak to him as an adult about the injustice of his words.

With this series of postcards I am now reclaiming my place in the world as a GW "A Woman of Valour"!


Anonymous said...

wonderful! I did not participate in this exchange but do love to see what has been created
Sharon (IJQ)

ROZ said...

What a lot of creative work. I love the theme, "she is like the merchant ships."