I discovered the book The Second Sex in my late teens during a desultory Saturday afternoon search through the stacks of the library near my home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
The Biblical story of Eve taken from the rib of Adam always irked me. If anything made sense, a woman’s body was decidedly more capable of bringing forth another life. Why was it not the other way around: Adam made by God from the rib of Eve? The title of this book, therefore, riveted my attention.
As I began to page through the book it seemed many mysteries evaporated. Here at last was someone speaking directly to me as a woman navigating what was a man’s world and giving me the intellectual and emotional tools with which to take control of the path I would walk in my own life. I came back to the library Saturday after Saturday to sit tucked away in a corner imbibing a very heady brew of ideas. It took me several months, maybe at least a year, not really sure. I never wanted to read the book at home. The special corner of the library was my very own “room” where I could guarantee being alone and concentrate on her words.
I used my own fabric designs to create the image and went through many versions of the quilt top until I felt that I had visually captured the strength of reverberations of Simone’s words within me throughout my life.
Woman’s Groundbreaking Accomplishment
Simone de Beauvoir wrote The Second Sex in 1949, a book considered to be the philosophical seed of the second wave of feminism in the twentieth century.
I used my own fabrics designs and two public domain images (photograph of Simone and cover of her book) to design the top for a whole cloth quilt in Photoshop which was printed through Spoonflower. Most of the fabric repeats used are from a collection I was working on concurrently with my Simone quilt. There was a lot of cross-pollination going on between the two design activities. The backing fabric is also of my own design.