While participating in WHT's Knit Your Bits art project, Emma Cardall was inspired to create a unique wearable piece of art as "a reminder to all that we are so much more than 'reproductive systems'."
"Back in 2021 I answered a call out from WHT needing people to give ideas for what could be covered in adult's menstrual health workshops. It was a no brainer for me to head over and give my input as someone who has lived with a condition that 1 in 20 menstruators have but only 10% are actually aware of: PMDD - Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder.
There was a brilliant mixed bag of people present: those in their 20s along with those who knew perimenopause ('what's that?' came from one of the younger ones) and menopause. There was a school nurse who told us all how much better her school was at discussing Menstrual health than it was for any of us growing up. And there was a naturopath who I'd actually not seen since I was a patient of hers in the darkest depths of worsening PMDD (now being successfully treated). I was happy she could see that I was doing well!!
The session kicked off with Lucy Peaches' music video for Your Blood is Amazing. If you haven't seen that yet - go to YouTube! The session filled way more A3 sheets of paper than the organisers expected, & although we felt like we were merely skimming the surface - just being in a safe space to discuss these topics that don't get the air time they deserve was uplifting and transformative - knowing that a future conversation in one of these workshops could be an aha moment for someone to them seek the targeted support they need.
While I was making a medieval scroll-esque hanging that features a brain and a uterus connected by gold for the Knit Your Bits exhibition that kicked off in Ross on International Women's Day in 2022, I also worked on making a separate piece - a bomber jacket with a brain and a uterus that could be worn by the people delivering Menstrual Health workshops.
I hope that the simplicity of the imagery is a reminder to all that we are so much more than 'reproductive systems'. Yes, we can make babies, but we are also people who have ambition alongside or wholly separate from parenthood, people who deserve targeted health care for cyclic bodies, people that live with invisible illnesses and disabilities, and some of us are non binary and some are men.
We need to talk and to know our bodies better. We need each other.
I'm very thankful for what WHT do in igniting these vital conversations. Thank you!!