Things that hurt my womb

September 4, 2011

Secret Women's Business ~ Jenny Bowker

Photograph by Kate Andrews

Jenny Bowker on the inspiration for her quilt:

My daughter brought an encyclopaedia of contraception home for a school project. I was fascinated by the range of shapes and played with them – using fleshy colours for backgrounds, and colours which do not belong in the body in the IUD’s.

My son commented that they looked like an explosion in the Barbie aisle. I worry that Barbie is teaching our children the wrong values – a need for a long thin body with big breasts, a wardrobe full of satin gowns, a palomino horse, a caravan, and Ken, forever sealed into his jocks.

In looking for a different symbol of fertility I used images of old symbols – the Venus of Willendorf and others like her. To further emphasise the fertility theme you will find the phases of the moon, quilting to suggest the tree of life in some places and a uterus and ovaries in others, and cowries – symbolising woman in the South Pacific where I grew up.

View the fruits of Australian quilter and textile artist at her website  Jenny Bowker  and  Postcards from Cairo – Jenny’s blog 

I am an Australian quiltmaker married to a diplomat (retired now). I have lived about fifteen years of the last thirty in the Middle East. This blog started in Egypt, and has morphed back to Australia with our return”

Jenny’s quilt was the first example of Goddess-themed contemporary textile art I had ever seen.  It left a huge impression….possibly reopening my eyes as an Artist and Scamp and tilling the soil for the idea (at least) that such creativity is also within my grasp. I had to get over my emerald green envy first of Jenny’s talent and that of all the other textile artists. 

Actually it’s not their talent I was formerly envious of………it was the income level of their husbands that allows them to spend all day quilting, and many other things that I could not have languaged back then, 10 – 20 – 25 years ago. 

Is quilting a spiritual path?  I dunno, I’ll ask my cat who sleeps under the hoop.

Image and all text nicked from Jenny B’s website.

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