Menopausal Cut-out Lady (and a Craft Book Giveaway)


I need a new hobby, something to provide a happy break from writing. I love to work with my hands, so I’ve been  pondering.

The pondering took a disarming plunge  last week when I spent long minutes threading a needle. I even had trouble with the handy dandy needle threader. I take this as final proof that my failing eyes, plus my lack of fine motor skills, rule out most hobbies that demand exact hand-eye coordination.

Then, like a flash, I remembered Henri Matisse! When his health began to fail, he took up paper cutting. Peinture avec du papier.  Painting with paper.

Matisse Woman Cut Outs


And so, I present to you, Menopausal Cut-out Lady.

Menopause Lady

To learn more about Menopausal Cut-out Lady, see the Artist’s Statement at the bottom of the post.

For a craft guide to inspire all of us, there’s Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation by Maggie Oman Shannon (Viva Editions, 2013).



The publisher writes:

Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon illustrates that you can literally ‘craft the crazy away” through beading and crocheting, candle-making, and collaging…Each chapter presents five different practices, offering forty activities to inspire, along with a series of questions for journaling and reflection.

Shannon presents plenty of intriguing crafts, but what I love the most are the quotations on creativity. Here are two favorites:

When the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.

 Leonardo Da Vinci

 I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with the arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.

 Saul Bellow


Giveaway: Thanks to Viva Editions for offering  a copy of Crafting Calm to one Friend for the Ride reader. For a chance to win, simply enter a comment by November 25. U.S. and Canada only please.

Read about Matisse’s cut-outs in this article.  And if you can get to NYC, the show at the MOMA looks spectacular.

Menopausal Cut-out Lady, Artist’s Statement: 

Barbara Younger  Construction Paper  and Glue on Sketch Paper   2014

Menopausal Cut-out Lady’s skin is green, which represents the new life, the fresh spouts, of menopause. She wears her hair in two lengths,posing this question: At what age should a woman switch to shorter hair? Menopausal Cut Out Lady feels sporty and confident with both lengths. Hooray for her!

Her breasts are blue, symbolizing the blues brought on by the droop of aging. Yet the blue represents water too, and the buoyancy and lack of inhibition she feel as she floats in a lovely blue lake or sea.

Her reproductive organs take the form of a heart. This symbolizes her adoration for her offspring, and the hope that her love life, despite changes, is far from over

Menopausal Cut-out Lady waves a fan, not only as a nod to her night sweats and hot flashes but as a welcoming signal to the changing winds of menopause, bringing relief from periods and a new zest for life.

16 responses »

  1. I would love to have a copy of Crafting Calm. That is an area of my life that has been put on hold since I went back to work. And I miss doing crafts.
    Nice creative Menopausal Cut Out Lady! And great representation of the body parts. I think she has her hair that way on purpose (an asymmetrical cut as I once had) to be more spunky and show she doesn’t really care anymore what others think of her. That is another good thing that often happens in menopause and afterwards–freedom from being what everyone else wants you to be.

  2. I admire Matisse’s work, and your Menopausal Cut-out Lady is great – wonderful color representations!
    I have found more time to be creative in these past few years and it is so rewarding, as well as relaxing 🙂
    Please enter me in the giveaway draw.

  3. Esp. love your use of a heart to represent the reproductive organs. Nice touch! Yes, I’d love to have a copy of Crafting Calm. I think Saul Bellow touched on the effect of art (and crafts); the concentration doing them takes you out of your everyday cares and lets you achieve a certain peace. Also the creativity you develop stretches your mind.

  4. Some of the happiest days of my life were in my younger years when I experimented with lots of crafts. I’d like the book to inspire me to start up again. Thanks!

  5. I love the Cut Out Lady, especially the symbolism of shapes and color. You may not think you are good with a needle and thread, but you have a creative mind when it comes to paper and pencil or in this case construction paper and pencil. Crafting is a great pass time and for me, it helps me keep my mind off my troubles or just day to day “stuff”.

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