Molly Elkind’s Statement
Molly featured two bodies of tapestry work in a solo show in Atlanta in early 2018. One series, entitled My Real Name is Mary, is inspired by a sixth-century icon of the Virgin Mary. The unconventional beauty of the face and the steady, enigmatic gaze prompted me to investigate what the image of Mary has meant, and means, for women over the centuries. I’m concerned with how impossibly high expectations for goodness, purity, beauty, and obedience—which Mary has symbolized—have influenced notions of ideal womanhood and ideal motherhood. In my tapestries I have tried to discover alternate interpretations of Mary that honor depth, imagination, courage and power.
The other series in the show is inspired by my interest in medieval illuminated manuscripts. The graphic qualities of the manuscript pages—the dense and colorful patterns, the mix of text, images and decoration in the center, surrounded by either wide empty margins or even more dense patterning and decoration—all this inspired my series of contemporary illuminated manuscripts in tapestry form. The medieval manuscripts contain sacred meanings that are mostly lost to us today, while their visual appeal remains.
Tapestry is a slow, painstaking discipline that requires total focus and induces a contemplative state in which time slows down. As religious icons invite the prayerful gaze, I hope my icons invite all of us to slow our voracious consumption of information, settle our gaze, and be still in the presence of an image that speaks.
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. Currently Molly is exploring collage as a design process for tapestry.
Molly earned an M.A. in Studio Art from the Hite Art Institute at the University of Louisville in 2002, and in that year she was awarded an Artist Enrichment grant by the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Exhibition highlights include solo shows at Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance (2018) and at Mercer University in Atlanta (2009) and juried and invitational shows nationwide. Molly has been published in Tapestry Weaver (Britain), Arts Across Kentucky, Needlearts, and Shuttle, Spindle, Dyepot magazines. Her work is in several private collections.
Molly is passionate about teaching elements and principles of design for tapestry and other fiber arts. Now based Santa Fe, NM, she travels nationwide to teach.