Inspired by the experiences of Velvet Underwood

"The Velvet Scar"

Elizabeth McBride
18″ x 36″ • Mixed Media

Artist Statement

Inspired by the poem Velvet, I found myself captivated by the use of fabric to describe both coveted luxury and the visual consequences of pain and complex healing. I wanted to focus on the ambiguity within the poem in order to emphasize the ways that the trauma depicted is a shared history for many both in and out of the military. What’s more, I felt that this trauma, often brought up in passing, is forgotten almost as quickly. For this reason, this work needed to be dynamic.
My work has always highlighted an intersectional feminist outlook on social and cultural events and understandings. I have always found myself wanting to portray these ideas in ways that are accessible to as many as possible, regardless of age, race, gender and or other identifier. It is important that my work features identifiable issues in ambiguous ways, as it allows the viewer the opportunity to either see themselves being represented or to step into the shoes of someone else.
The use of multimedia is common in my works. I do not want to limit myself or my art to one kind of medium, as a lot of the visceral themes and issues I explore demand a realness that I feel I can only capture using texture and sculpture.


by Susan Lenz

Tufted silk and short piled softness.
Even the word is sensual.
Smooth, rich, faded colors of yesteryear,
the fabric of queens.

Little wonder that it was coveted.
Little wonder that its innocence was stolen.
Little wonder why men would rape,
that men would stalk,
that men would cover their trail
to possess such wonder.

Damage done is but a scar,
a weave in need of repair.
Nurses needle the open sore,
the mental break,
the victim’s fragile state.

Their stitches are but temporary.
The hurt will yet remain.
Tomorrow brings assault again,
and trauma is unleashed.

Poor warp and weft.
Poor preciousness.
Mended once again.
Mending upon the mended
in attempts to regain a whole.

But what is left of precious youth?
What is left to say?
Who believes the sorry tale
of deadly threats and raveled threads?
And who will tend the broken goods,
stitch the seams back in place?

All the armies in the realm
might seek to recompense.
All the veterans of this war
might fully understand,
but what becomes of tufted silk
and short piled softness then?