NASTY WOMEN Memphis | Art + Activism



Elza McKenna: Self Portrait

34″ x 34″
Quilt (cotton thread, fabric, and batting)

50% Donation

Pickup: 8:00 pm
October 21, 2022
(exhibit closing)
Marshall Arts
639 Marshall Ave
Memphis, Tenn

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Out of stock


Artist’s Biography/Statement:

I designed this quilt in Adobe Illustrator and the entire quilt was pieced using the foundation paper piecing method. I pieced and quilted it on my domestic sewing machine. I felt so weary during the past couple of years. And yet despite so many long, heartbreaking, uninspired days, this quilt seemed to magically unfold under my fingers. The title, Self Portrait, seemed like an obvious choice because when I look at this quilt, I see myself.

I am excited to participate in CHOICE because, as a mother raising four children in the South, I feel so strongly about working to protect my children’s choices. My kids were close by for every stitch I made on this quilt. We talked about the anatomy of the uterus, about birth, about blood, about the mystery of the body, and about the fact that some people cannot make their own choices about their own bodies. 

I believe in the power, restoration, and sanctity of the art of quilting. Especially during times like these. As I was making this quilt in 2020, I was inspired daily by the words of Pulitzer Prize nominee poet Lucille Clifton: “in the unknown world / the woman / threading together her need / and her needle / nods toward the smiling girl / remember / this will keep us warm.”

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