In the Birth Project (1980–1985), Judy Chicago wanted to call attention to a universal experience not commonly depicted in the arts: childbirth. While researching, she was struck by the lack of images showing crowning—the moment when a baby’s head becomes visible in the birth canal. Chicago’s Birth Project highlights media—weaving, embroidery, and crochet—historically devalued for its association with women’s handiwork.
To complete Birth Trinity (1983), a massive work stretching over 10 feet in length, Chicago employed needlepoint artists who worked collaboratively to execute Chicago’s design. Here, artist and designer Susan Bloomenstein, a member of the group, shares her experience working on Birth Trinity.
Who were the members of the Teaneck Seven? How did you develop your name?
The members of the Teaneck Seven are the ones listed on the documentation for Birth Trinity in the Judy Chicago retrospective at the de Young museum [Susan Bloomenstein, Elizabeth Colten, Karen Fogel, Helene Hirmes, Bernice Levitt, Linda Rothenberg, and Miriam Vogel]. All of us were members of the League of Women Voters in Teaneck, New Jersey. When I returned from working with a group of women in Benicia [California] on the Birth Project, I asked those interested to join me in doing a piece for Judy. Our name was created in the spur of the moment at Doubleday Publishing in New York City, when the receptionist asked for the name of our group. Henceforth, we became the Teaneck Seven.