Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chair

As I was putting the finishing touches on the thrones, I was watching a TV program that featured various birthing methods. I couldn't believe I had forgotten about what could be the most important chair of all: the birthing stool. I can't begin to explain how powerful I felt birthing my daughter on one of these, with my husband behind me for support and the midwife and doctor below me -- actually sitting on the floor (how often is a doctor -- he or she whom we westerners place in such high regard -- relegated to such a low position as to literally be on the floor?). I was going for monumental status with a simple, centered composition, but I wonder if I went too vulgar with the background. I almost re-did it, but decided that risk-taking is part of the challenge and my own personal growth. I did add the hand at the last minute to represent the loving, helping hand of the mother and mid-wife. So here it is. My answer to the Chair challenge.

Birthing Stool

10 comments:

StegArt said...

Yay for risk taking!!!! I learned something, again, from one of your quilts. I had no knowledge whatsoever, of a birthing stool. Thanks for the education.

Gerrie said...

Hmmmm! I am 70 years old and I have lived a sheltered life. I have never heard of a birthing chair - birthing tubs - but not a chair. I think this is such a great solution. I digress.

Yes, my child, you have pushed the envelope. I think that the marks of your hand stitching softens the background and adds such a wonderful element to the piece. So far you win the prize for the most thought provoking piece - but, of course, we haven't seen Helen's yet!!

Nellie's Needles said...

There is no "vulgarity" in the birthing process. Your background fabric tells the story. Without the stains of blood how would we know? or even have a second thought as to its purpose. I like the piece better without the hand. Although, I do like the sentiment it represents.

Karen said...

This is wonderful, you captured the image I would think of and having witnessed hundreds of deliveries, I have never seen a birthing chair, although it makes perfect sense to me. i don't think it's to graphic, you evoked the reality of birth with your use of colors, and the hand brings in a peaceful quality.

Diane said...

Kristin,

Once again your response surprises and educates and delights. This is a piece that calls for a closer look. I don't think the background is too graphic -- it has an energy that is an effective contrast to the chair, even before know that the chair is a birthing chair.

Terry said...

OK, I guess I too am showing my age--knew nothing about a birthing chair. If I had seen this without the explanation I wouldn't have known what it was. That said, I think you have captured a profound experience expressed through the simple little stool. The background is only vulgar if that is what you are looking for it to be. In some ways it really expresses the intense focus of the birth process by directing all attention to the center of the piece.

Kristin L said...

No need to feel old ladies, I think it has more to do with culture than age. The birthing stool has been used for centuries in non-western cultures. The difference is that perhaps the younger generation of westerners is now embracing methods of childbirth that are woman-centric, rather than doctor-centric as was the case in the early to mid 20th century. While the birthing tub is relaxing and helps by adding a little weightlessness, the stool is all about gravity. Open up the hips by sitting on one of those big exercise balls, then squat with the help of a very low stool, and, well, this is probably already TMI!

jude said...

i knew it. the mother in you shines again. i like the focus on this too, something often forgotten a great symbol.

Françoise said...

Not vulgar at all, but very powerful. And it reminds me of some of the best moments in my life (although I didn't get the help of a birthing stool!)
Btw, I think birthing stools were also used in Europe during the Middle Ages.

Lorie M. said...

I'm so glad to see you used this one. I liked your other two, but this has the most powerful message. I love that it's a quilt btw, and the fact that's it's about motherhood is a big plus! Not vulgar one iota.