sanitary napkins, tampons, embroidery thread
Part of the RISD Fleet Library's Special Collections
Awarded the Innovative Materials Prize
Funds from the sale of this artist book went to buy a machine to hand-make sanitary napkins for the women of a village in Eastern Maharashtra, providing them with a livelihood and safe sanitation methods.
This series of 4 books, or pads, have been made out of real sanitary napkins. Each book is a representation of each day of a regular menstrual cycle, outlining the emotions, feelings and blood flow that is typically experienced as a result of hormonal changes in a woman. My inspiration for creating such a book arose from my compulsive need to express the agony I felt on my first day of my period last week! I decided to create a book with a rather unconventional media in place of paper: sanitary napkins! Each book is typified with the emotions I felt on each day of my period. Thus, through my 4 day period I recorded my feelings in each book. Congruent to my emotions and feelings, the books have characteristics of my persona on each day:
the content has a tone of angst and agony | the font is illegible and irregular, which is typical of my tone and mood on my first day | the use of excessive yarn is symbolic of the heavy flow | the size of the pads used are the largest too | the number of pads used are the most as well!
the tone is one of depression, the feelings of having given up and succumbing | the font is slightly more legible that the font used in the previous book to symbolize a shift of mood and a decrease in the pain quotient | the use of less yarn is symbolic of a lighter flow | the size of the pads used decrease as well | the number of pads decrease too
the tone is almost rebellious, annoyed and confessional | the font is cursive and seems like a font used in a personal journal, as the content is mostly confessional statements which I wouldn’t normally be too vocal about. The use of the Devanagari font (Hindi) is also an indicator to show that these are the sort of confessions I would never be vocal about in India especially | the use of lesser yarn is symbolic of a still lighter flow | the size of the pads used decrease as well | the number of pads decrease too
the content has a tone of relief and satisfaction as I can finally continue life without the omniscient feeling of being bothered by my period! It was also the happiness of having the liberty to wear white pants on the weekend without the concerns of embarrassing myself | the font is as legible as it gets since the pain is the least on the fourth day | the use of minimal yarn is symbolic of a slight spotting which is all that remains | the size of the pads used decreases considerably to a pantyliner
The books also include a tampon bookmark which decreases with size as the days go by.
The transparent box is a parody on the manner in which pads are often hidden and sold in many countries. I have used this transparent material as a social commentary on this convention.