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Her Babushka Was Her Voice



A decade ago, I created a small series of drawings printed onto a slip of fabric and folded like a book. It told snippets of real experiences of women in my family, told through various ways of wearing a babushka- which is a head covering. I decided to recreate this project through carving a linoleum block print onto paper. Each small portrait is drawn from a photograph of women in my family wearing cloths in their hair tied in various ways. My great-great- grandmother appears on the book cover with her cloth tied around her hair and throat. My great-grandmother tied a scarf around just her hair, leaving her neck open to the wind. My grandmother tied a small slip across her head like a headband. And I found a photo of my mother wearing a decoratively patterned babushka around her hair when she was a young mother.

I hope the intended poetry of the piece may be understood through the combination of the imagery and words. The story takes place through 8 pages and reads:

"Her babushka was her voice

She wore orange when she cooked pierogies for her family each Sunday

When she stitched garments at the factory she wore a torn one

After her comrades dies across the street at Triangle Shirtwaist she changed to black

When she was in love she changed it every day

When she was pregnant she wore paisley

Her hope fled when her husband left and she put the beautiful ones away

(hope) She stitched one to wear for when it would return to her"

The paper is folded into a book shaped like a triangle. 8 pages of text. These are handprinted, signed on the inside of the folded book. The edition is printed with dark black ink on various colored papers in an edition of 80. Color options are: lavendar, yellow, blue, light green. The bottom length is 6.5" wide, the across length is 6.5."

Here are some detail images:

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