Molly Elkind’s Statement
My current series of handwoven tapestries is inspired by a sixth-century encaustic icon of the Virgin Mary found in Santa Francesca Romana church in Rome. I am investigating the impact of Mary’s mythical purity, goodness, beauty, obedience, and power on the construction of female identity. As a woman whose given name is Mary, this impact is personal. I am haunted by the direct gaze of this literally iconic figure who has been revered for centuries as the Mother of God, an intercessor for sinners, and a model for women everywhere.
She is ultimately an enigma. What things did Mary “ponder in her heart?” How did she feel when it was prophesied that “a sword shall pierce your own heart”? What did St. Augustine mean when he wrote that “greater is what she bore in her mind than in her womb”? We will never know with any certainty much about who this Jewish girl of the ancient Near East really was, but her image remains a powerful icon.
Molly Elkind’s Biography
Molly Elkind first learned tapestry weaving from Tommye Scanlin and Pat Williams at a workshop in 2010. While tapestry is her focus now, earlier work included handwoven garments and accessories, papermaking, quiltmaking, embroidery, book arts and collage. She maintains an interest in mixing fiber media and wonders how this might be done in tapestry.
Molly earned an M.A. in Studio Art from the Allen R. Hite Art Institute at the University of Louisville in 2002, and in that year was awarded an Artist Enrichment grant by the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Exhibition highlights include a solo show at Mercer University in Atlanta (2009) and numerous juried and invitational shows nationwide. Molly has been published in Tapestry Weaver (Britain), Arts Across Kentucky, Needlearts, SAQA Journal, and Shuttle, Spindle, Dyepot magazines. Her work is in several private collections.
Molly emerges from her Atlanta-area studio to teach, hike, and walk her dog.