Reproductive Self Portrait

Reproductive Self Portrait

I've recently developed an obsession with creating anatomical art out of paper. The first one I attempted was the Frog Autopsy and no sooner had I begun it, I knew that this would be next. Now I have created this Quilled Reproductive Self Portrait. I say it's a self-portrait because I was envisioning my own organs as I made it. But really it represents all women. 

Some of you may not know this about me, but "most" of my artwork has personal significance to me. I rarely create anything that doesn't relate to something that is important to me or currently happening.

Frog Autopsy was a result of my fascination with autopsies. Yup... weird, I know. As a child, I dissected animals without prompting. Meaning, I actually chose to do it rather than wait for a biology class. This was likely a result of growing up on a farm and always wanting to know how things worked.

So I've recently turned 42 and have also become obsessed with my waning fertility and approaching menopause. I feel as though my lady parts are the devil and all they do is conspire against me. I've been having quite a battle with the bitches for the past six months or so. Something tells me I have no chance of winning, but I will not go down without a fight, or at least a bottle of Advil and a pint of ice cream.

I decided to do a "lady part" piece as sort of a tribute to my own body and to others as well. With the women's march a month or so ago and so much in the news about women's reproductive rights, it just seemed like I had to make a statement piece. And, as with most of my artwork, there is always a hint of my lurking somewhere in side it. In this case it's the ovaries. I always joke to my husband that I have one egg left. But each month my period proves me wrong. Oh well. It's become something I cling to. Is this the last one? Is this the last month? Is menopause finally here?

So in tribute to my imagined "solitary egg" - my last gasp of fertility, I created this piece with two ovaries and a single "egg."

I was going to stop there but figured that while I was knuckle deep in pink paper, I'd make quilling history by forming a simplistic vulva as well. I'm sure it's been done before (and I plan to do it again in greater detail!), but give me my delusions of grandeur, okay? 🙂

I have to tell you the story behind this final part. My husband went to take a shower and while he was gone I had thrown together two labia majora. I was going to leave it at that and thought, nope - I can't sleep unless this vulva has a clitoris and labia minora. So he walked out of the bathroom and I held up a pink-headed pin and said, "Honey I need you to make me a clitoris." He didn't even crack a smile, you know, because he knew I was serious. And he took the pin, clipped off the head and handed it back. I captured the pin pearl in the upper cleft of the labia and then crimped out a set of tiny, ruffly, labia minora. Then I felt like it was complete.

I was going to add in a fibroid tumor but it was so pretty and pink and healthy looking that I didn't want to ruin it with such an ugly thing.

Hope you enjoyed my quilled reproductive self-portrait. I will have more anatomical artwork coming along over the next few months. This piece has gone to live at the Midcoast Women's Center in Brunswick, Maine.

Quilled Female Reproductive Tract
Quilled Cervical Canal
Quilled Ovary
Quilled Vulva
Quilled Female Reproductive Tract
My art is for sale. If you would like to purchase something you see on my site, or want an entirely unique quilling made just for you, please contact me. I have some listings for original artwork and prints available on my Etsy Shop, and can always create a custom listing for you. Do you have any comments, questions, or suggestions? Please feel free to let me know what's on your mind. Or, you can contact me directly. Please visit Quilled Creations for all your quilling needs. They offer some of the best products on the market including premium quilling paper, high-quality tools, kits, and much, much, more.


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