For the sake of a renewed practice of vulnerability (thanks to my wonderful neighbor’s book, Embracing Weakness: The Unlikely Secret to Changing the World, Shannon K. Evans - Buy this book right now!) and a need to respond to the current news cycle, here is my story of the work Catharanthus Roseus & Misoprostol.
I have resolved to share my stories.
This print was created for a print exchange called Pieced, the impetus of which was to combine printmaking and quilting. Catharanthus Roseus & Misoprostol measures 12” x 12” (a common quilt block dimension) and is made of two layer with multiple techniques.
The bottom layer is a cyanotype (after many failure a screen printing the fine pattern) of a floral design that includes the Catharanthus Roseus, or Periwinkle, a twinning flower historically symbolizing marital fidelity and Misoprostol, or Plan B, colloquially known as the abortion pill.
Printed atop this floral pattern is a quilt block patter of a circle shape. This pattern comes from an old quilt I had as a teenager. A quilt I slept under and loved to pieces during the time this story takes place.
This quilt is now the one I am hand mending with my community for my project the Collective Mending Sessions.
It is a quilt I told my mother to throw away.
In her wisdom, she did not.
The top layer is pieced Japanese paper, delicate and translucent, block printed with a quilt block patter called Cross & Crown. This pattern is symbolic for the emblems of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
This beautiful pattern shielded and hidden by the geometric pattern of the gospel story is an apt metaphor for a deeply personal and (formerly) painful story.
When I was a teenager, sleeping every night under this quilt I am mending now, I took the Plan B pill.
I still remember driving to the clinic, 30 mins from my home, with my boyfriend. Not talking at all. I never really found out if we had truly gotten pregnant (taking the test seemed like a Goliath sized endeavor).
I was just scared and torn. My young faith imbued in my heart that life was sacred. But he was scared and the fear was a palpable motivator.
I still cannot say for sure whether I am glad that the clinic was available to me. They didn’t ask to many questions (not that I recall) and it seemed like a much bigger deal inside of me. Of course now, you can get this medication over the counter. But then, to my 17-18 year old self, it was as if the ground had shifted and I was broken.
It ended the relationship. It changed the way I viewed God.
I became convinced that because I did not want a baby then, that surely when I wanted to have children I would be unable. God would punish me that way.
But you see, as I found out, that is simply not how my God is.
He waited for me to draw near a year or two later. I learned the great salve of his gentle, patient love. he continued to redeem that great hurt, that great ache, through my loving husband.
Through a graced filled ( and mistake filled) marriage.
Through two beautiful (and mischievous) children.
Like this print, marital faithfulness and growth are tired up with a past full of indiscretions and hurts. They are intertwined. I simply do not think I will get rid of the sting from that decision. But Christ came and he gently covered all of that history. The final result is complex, subtle, and treasured.
For it is my story. And it is an honor to share it.
This print is currently up at the Octagon Center for this Arts, shown alongside my former printmaking professor, April Katz in Twenty Years: Print Retrospective through August 17, 2019.