The Exquisite Uterus

I have always loved this project, organized by artists Alison Gates and Helen Klebesadel in 2012, in response to legislation in a number of states that sought to incrementally roll back women’s reproductive rights. As we have come to realize in the most recent election, we do not have the luxury of taking our voices, reproductive rights or bodily autonomy for granted. Not now or for the foreseeable future. You can read more about the project and see more images of individual works here:


by Alison Gates

We keep wanting this project to become irrelevant, but given yesterday’s news we do not foresee a time in the near future where people will not need this creative outlet to deal with emotions and tell their stories surrounding the source of all human life, or for expressing their need and desire to maintain access to good reproductive healthcare.

Project Statement:

The Exquisite Uterus: Art of Resistance Project is a feminist art project with over 200 contributions by creative makers who have used the act of embellishing a line drawing of a uterus on plain cloth to articulate their outrage at recent increased restrictions to women’s full access to good sexual and reproductive health care and growing limitations on our ability to determine our own reproductive choices. As you can see from our website we have over 200 contributors internationally (that we know of.) So far the original exhibition’s path (Future venues in the works): Lawton Gallery, UW-Green Bay (faculty selections) Feb. 2017; Southern Illinois University Library Rotunda, April 2016; East Tennesee State University Tipton Gallery (curated selections for Threads of Empowerment show) October 2015; Union Art Gallery, UW-Milwaukee, September 2013; Armory Gallery, UW-Madison, March 2013; Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL, January 2013; Steinhilber Art Gallery, UW-Oshkosh, September 2012. It has also represented the US in an international show of women’s art.

Theresa McNeil, Mary Sanderson & Sara Williams, “I Choose When I Cook in This Kitchen”
Heidi Gjengdahl, “Women’s Suffrage”
Kathleen Buchanen, “Don’t Tread on Me”
Amy Bethel, “Untitled”

3 responses to The Exquisite Uterus

  1. Alison says:

    Thank you for honoring our project in this post! We are always very gratified that others find it as important and as meaningful as we do and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our participants.

  2. I echo Alison in thank you for this post recognizing the Exquisite Uterus Project and for all your ongoing work to make socially engaged craft visible.

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