Currently installed in the Jaffe Book Art Collection at Florida Atlantic University is a spiritual tent I made over the summer of 1993.
It is a two-sided tent 8ft X 8ft X 7ft high machine pieced and quilted out of 100% cotton purchased broadcloth. The outside is made of 12 soul panels created from applied strips of cotton. The inside is a patchwork scene of mountains, rivers, sky and clouds. The original sign on the door said, “Women, only, enter one by one.” Some ten years later, I altered the words to what is written now, “Please enter one by one”.
At the time I made it, I was trying to make a statement about the exclusion of women from the religious aspects of male dominated Jewish practice. In orthodox settings women are separated from men by a mechitza. In response, I made this tent for women that would exclude men.
Eighteen years later, standing in my creation, I was struck by the amount of time and effort I put into this project. I remember well the anger and exclusion I felt propelling me to make such a massive statement.
It’s a powerful piece and I’m proud to be the artist, but truth be told, if I were to create a new statement, I wouldn’t bother to go to such extreme lengths to exclude men. If they don’t see the value in including us- it’s their loss.