Menopause

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

Capture

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).

 

9.4.14-Maggie-Oman-Shannon_CraftingCalm600

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

images

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.

Menopause

The Pink Nude and You Nude

Pink Nude by Henri Matisse

I recently met the above naked lady at an exhibit at Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art. You can read more about this fabulous exhibit here.

Painted by Henri Matisse in 1935, The Pink Nude is one of hundreds of pieces of French art collected by the Cone sisters from my hometown of Baltimore.

Claribel Cone, a physician and researcher, and her sister Etta  were supported largely by their brother Moses. The sisters were avant-garde in their artistic tastes. (Although you wouldn’t guess it from their outfits.)

Here they are with their buddy, Gertude Stein.  (Gertrude is in the middle):

images (7)

The Cone sisters had an eye for art and became a patron of Matisse when he was little appreciated by the art world.

Their pink friend in the painting, looking oh so nonchalant and tres comfortable with her pose au naturel, got me thinking about nudity.

My own.

Sometimes, in the shower, I glance down at myself and think, rats! I’m starting to look like  the world doesn’t think nudes should look. I could make a long list of famous artists who would never bop down from heaven to paint me.

And other times, especially when I’m in a good mood, I’ll stand in front of the mirror in my bedroom and think, hey, sure you need to put some clothes on soon, but Barbara nude isn’t so bad.

Now it’s your turn.

I’ve bared my thoughts. Time for you to bare yours.

Patti Winker, you’re extra brave about telling us stuff.

Do tell.

To  help fuel the conversation, here’s another Mattise from the Cone Collection.  She’s on the blue side, not nearly as comfortable in her skin as the lady in pink.

images (3)

What about you? Does nudity make you rosy or blue?

Note Card Giveaway!  Congratulations to Diane, who won the Suzanne Cheryl Gardner giveaway.