Viewing page 4 of 8

November, 1974

Dear Sisters,

As you may know, last year at the FSW Billie, Ruth, Maria, Margi and I got together to form a small collective. We immediately realized our need for studio space and decided we could all share the same large space. We embarked on a search for a storefront where we could all work, plus have room for all of us to hold classes. Our dream was a mini-FSW which reached out to an even wider public. After several meetings and getting to know each other better, we changed our plans because we all came a bit closer to our real needs, which are still more inner directed.

We decided to rent an old mansion. The landlord was rather suspicious of our plan to WORK rather than live there, but we finally got a lease and it is well worth it. It's huge and rundown. We have each fixed up one or two rooms for ourselves and there's one room reserved for public classes, workshops, etc.

I really enjoy having the space to spread out ideas as they come to me. I am much better though at doing one project at a time and sticking with it until completion. Having the other ideas around me, visibly germinating at another level seems to act as encouragement to finish what I'm doing and get on with it.

Most of my art work is about thoughts and feelings towards my own body, sexuality, and emotional growth and change, and contacting other women who have worked specifically with women in health care. Last month I completed an hour video program which includes a interview with a lively old-time feminist in Santa Barbara who was Margaret Sanger's close friend and speech writer. I also taped a fascinating conversation with an 89 year old midwife who delivered Ruth's grandchild, and I included some short pieces on self examination and birth control. With the help of Public Access Video and the Feminist Health Clinic I am trying to distribute the tape through sales and rentals. One woman is working on a Spanish translation of the sound track.

Through the Woman's Building, Gay Community Services Center and the Feminist Health Clinic, I found 6 other women who are artists who also wanted to form a group on body awareness and health care. We meet weekly for four and a half hours. Usually we do some exercises and body meditations together, then we talk about personal needs, then we work on how we as artists can help the female community regain control of women's health professions. The group is working on  the creation of ritual celebrations of the birth and growth of women so that young girls can go through rites of passage that build up pride rather than fear and embarrassment of themselves. With the participation of our midwife friend we re-enacted a birth scene, attended, documented and celebrated by a close group of the mother's friends. The piece was well received at womanspace and many people wanted to work with us. We are going to start working with other women so that each of us leads a group. These women will work in small groups as we do, and may participate in subsequent celebration performances, of "being a tomboy", beginning to menstruate, "the awkward stage" and onward.

Back at the mansion, I'm learning more about photography from Maria, and enjoying our group crits. I continue working at Grandview and know that all the women at the Building look forward to hearing especially from those of you out of the area.

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact