See art by Mayra Alpízar | Carlota Berard | Jennifer Boe | Roz Bonnet | Luiza Brown | Nikoline Calcaterra | Judy Chicago | Selin Cileli | Maldoror Capvt Corvi | Maribel Cruz | Thomasin Durgin | Natalie Aniela Dybisz | Elvira | Anne Encephalon | Hélène Epaud | Quiara Z. Escobar | Fanni Fazekas | Pat Fish | Julie Gaw | Gina | Kat Grandy | Martina Hoffmann (1 & 2) | Jelena | Judy Jones | Margaret Kalms | Brina Katz | Lorraine Lamothe | Ria Lee | Sharon Lee | Lana Leitch | Carol Nathan Levin | Katy Luxion | Sarah McCutcheon | Isa Menzies | Megan Morris | M. Parfitt | Petra Paul | Ana Elena Pena | Melina Piroso | Elentye Paulauskas-Poelker | Leigh Radtke | Jacquelyn Rixon | Isa Sanz | Vladislav Shabalin | Nelson Soucasaux | Paula Speakman | Alexandra Steiner | Melina Szapiro | Von Taylor | Jean Tracy | Joseph Tonna | Jessica Wagner | Jennifer Weigel | Terry Wunderlich | Tamara Wyndham | New Guinea menstrual hut carving
Art of Menopause by Coni Minneci
Ancient Peruvian menstrual art
If you create or own art concerning menstruation or menopause and are interested in showing it on thesepages (it's free!), contact MUM
Marie Claire magazine (Italian edition) featured several of the above artists in an article about this museum and menstruation in 2003. The newspaper Corriere della Sera (Io Donna magazine) (Milan, Italy) and the magazine Dishy (Turkey) showed some of the artists in 2005 in articles about this museum.
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
MUM address & What does MUM mean? |
Email the museum |
Privacy on this site |
Who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! |
Art of menstruation (and awesome ancient art of menstruation) |
Artists (non-menstrual) |
Asbestos |
Belts |
Bidets |
Birth control and religion |
Birth control drugs, old |
Birth control douche & sponges |
Founder bio |
Bly, Nellie |
MUM board |
Books: menstruation & menopause (& reviews) |
Cats |
Company booklets for girls (mostly) directory |
Contraception and religion |
Contraceptive drugs, old |
Contraceptive douche & sponges |
Costumes |
Menstrual cups |
Cup usage |
Dispensers |
Douches, pain, sprays |
Essay directory |
Examination, gynecological (pelvic) (short history) |
Extraction |
Facts-of-life booklets for girls |
Famous women in menstrual hygiene ads |
Feminine napkin, towel, pad directory |
Founder/director biography |
Gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux |
Humor |
Huts |
Links |
Masturbation |
Media coverage of MUM |
Menarche booklets for girls and parents |
Miscellaneous |
Museum future |
Norwegian menstruation exhibit |
Odor |
Olor |
Pad, towel, napkin directory |
Patent medicine |
Poetry directory |
Products, some current |
Puberty booklets for girls and parents|
Religion |
Religión y menstruación |
Your remedies for menstrual discomfort |
Menstrual products safety |
Sanitary napkin, towel, pad directory |
Seguridad de productos para la menstruación |
Science |
Shame |
Slapping, menstrual |
Sponges |
Synchrony |
Tampon directory |
Early tampons |
Teen ads directory |
Tour of the former museum (video) |
Towel, pad, sanitary napkin directory |
Underpants & panties directory |
Videos, films directory |
Words and expressions about menstruation |
Would you stop menstruating if you could? |
What did women do about menstruation in the past? |
Washable pads |
Read 10 years (1996-2006) of articles and Letters to Your MUM on this site.
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

The Art of Menstruation at the Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health

Read an article about the work of M. Parfitt (does "M" stand for a word related to this museum?) in the Sacramento News and Review, 5 December 2002 (Web site). I have no work to show yet, but I hope will have in the future. I reproduce the article intact because I fear it may disappear from the newspaper Web site.

Looking at the overlooked

By Becca Costello

Photo By Larry Dalton

When I arrived at M. Parfitt's house, the first thing she did was unroll the poop quilt. The piece, titled Wilbur's Opinion after a cherished pet, is composed of hundreds of photos of dog droppings. She explained that she documented her dog's backyard visits for a year to get the pictures and that no two are alike. She chose only the most interesting shapes and even fed Wilbur corn and carrots to influence his "artistic process." Once I got over my initial "I can't believe I'm studying poop" reaction, I started to appreciate the astonishing variety of shapes and textures, which is exactly the point. Parfitt's art, created with hair, blood, forgotten photos, lint and other typically discarded objects, invites the observer to take another look at things that almost never get a second glance. It's an approach that won her the $1,000 first prize at the 73rd Crocker-Kingsley exhibition last month at the Crocker Art Museum.

Were you surprised you won first prize?

I was totally shocked. I wasn't even sure my piece was in the show. First, there's a round of judging by slides. Then, they tell you to bring your piece in for the second round, so I did, and they said, "If we don't accept it, we'll let you know." I never heard from them. I assumed it got in, but I didn't really know. I thought maybe I'd missed a phone call. So, we went to the reception, and they handed us the catalogs, which we didn't even open. If we'd opened them, we'd have seen a picture of the piece right inside. We wandered back, and there was my piece. I said, "Oh, there it is! It actually made it in." Then, I noticed the sign that said first prize, and I just dropped everything. I couldn't believe it. I never thought I would win, especially with Gladys Nilsson being the juror. I've admired her work for years. She's an excellent painter and a very interesting artist. For her to pick my piece just shocked the hell out of me.

What was the winning piece?

I collect old photographs and books. I took about 70 old photographs of women, and I found little bits of text to put under each one. I tore the pages and smeared blood all over them, so a lot of it's blocked out and other words are emphasized. You can't get a complete story out of each piece of text, but you can get an idea by reading a couple of words. Each piece of text was about constrictive behavior--how you're supposed to dress, how to wear your corset, how to do your housecleaning, how to behave for your husband, how to behave in public. It's all about behavior women were supposed to fall in line with. I combined the two and added rows of lint vertically, throughout the piece. I like working with lint because it's something people throw away. They don't notice it, but it's really interesting material, the colors and the textures. It ties in with how these women were treated. They were sort of ignored and invisible, unless they followed these behaviors. Their lives were insignificant, just like the lint. But, if you look at the lint, it's really interesting, so maybe these women had interesting lives, too. So, I sewed all that up as a quilt.

Victoria Dalkey, who reviewed the Crocker-Kingsley exhibition for the Sacramento Bee, criticized the use of text in art. Why do you use text in your work?

I think it adds another dimension. You can read as much as you want. You can look past the blood and try to figure out what the words are. You can glance at it and read a few words or just look at it visually, as part of the composition. I like to hint at ideas from books, throw in ideas that might not be apparent if it was just photos and color.

What's the most unusual thing you've used in your art?

I used to save my dog's nail clippings. I used them in a house sculpture. They kind of formed a path and looked like pebbles.

You use a lot of blood.

I started using it maybe seven years ago. I wanted to make a quilt that looked like it was stained with blood. I tried acrylic paint, silk paint and watercolors. Nothing looked like blood. It looked like paint. Finally, one day I had my period, and I thought, "Well, why not try blood?" and it worked. I like the way it looks. You get thick clots and little runny bits and chunks. It changes color when it oxidizes. It's fun to work with because you really can't control it.

Do people assume you're going for "shock value" in your art because of the blood?

Some people don't even know what they're looking at. Other people don't know it's menstrual blood, and they assume I cut myself to do it. It doesn't have any real deep significance for me other than the fact that I like the color and the texture.

What inspires you?

I like looking at things that people throw away or overlook. I pick things up from the gutter on my way to work--scraps of paper and stuff. I've always liked ... the idea of recycling things and making them useful again.

What is the role of the artist today?

Art, to me, is fun. I don't believe in suffering for it. Artists who are tortured should be a in a different business, obviously. I make what's fun to me, and I hope people like looking at it. I like to see people laugh at my work. That's my role as an artist, to have fun.

copyright 2002 Sacramento News and Review

NEXT artist: Petra Paul
See all the artists in the links in the left-hand column.

If you create or own art concerning menstruation or menopause and are interested in showing it on these pages (it's free!), contact MUM

© 2003 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute work on this Web site in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to