Silverfish Spirits was the first Menstrala created by Vanessa Tiegs in September 2000.
After the turn of the millennium,
Vanessa Tiegs coined the word Menstrala to name
her collection of 88 controversial paintings from 2000-2003.
Today, the neologism Menstrala refers to the women's art movement
affirming a universally hidden forbidden bright red monthly renewal cycle.
Menstrala have appeared in numerous documentary and educational films,
art journals, and academic papers worldwide.
In 2003, a print of “Timandra & Bulis” was displayed for 2 months onboard the
USS Kitty Hawk Supercarrier as a social experiment by a navy crew member.
The art movement, Menstrala, inspires women artists to express how their menstrual blood symbolizes:
Instead of societies treating menstrual blood as an invalidation tool, what if women regarded menstrual blood as their coveted ability to bleed for days without dying, renew, and grow wiser?
While women do not know where the moon comes from, the human female fertility cycle is linked to it. Awareness of the connection led to cultural developments, such as calendaring based on the lunar cycle, and original rituals such as cosmetikos (lipstick for women and tattoos & skin piercings for men's parallel rites). For further information on this, Dr. Judy Grahn's Metaformic Theory explains how "menstruation created the world" (Blood, Bread & Roses, 1993) by shaping cultures and how the keywords "taboo" (Polynesian tapua) and "ritual" (Sanskrit r'tu) originate from women's menarche and menstrual rites.
"Galaxy Crossing," a phoenix rising, is the iconic image of the Original Menstrala Collection of 88 Paintings from 2000-2003 created by Vanessa Tiegs.
Vanessa Tiegs first published her controversial LiveJournal entries between 2000-2003 on one of the first blogger forums on the web. Earning her Masters Degree in Women's Spirituality in 2001, she created Spiraling Moon: A System for Menstrual Insight to help women transform PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) into PMP (pre-menstrual power) by emphasizing the logic behind the cycle: that menstruation is not just a cycle logical fertility event but a psychological, creative, & spiritual monthly renewal.
Vanessa’s Menstrala have appeared in documentaries, art journals, and academic papers worldwide. In 2003, a print of her painting called “Timandra & Bulis” was displayed for two months onboard the USS Kitty Hawk Supercarrier in as a social experiment by a navy crew member.
Your art is beautiful, your medium universal.
~ Daniel Reinhold, Baltimore, MD
What you do is absolutely wonderful and awe inspiring. Never before have I seen such wonderful art and witnessed such a powerful artist behind the works. You've made me look at menstruation differently and allowed me to think of myself as a different girl.
~ A. Gabrielle, York, PA
The idea of painting with such a personal, symbolic medium inspires me and makes me reconsider my own relationship to my blood. I believe your artwork carries a very positive message for femininity on its wings.
~ Jennifer, Daytona Beach, FL
Inspiration! Painting, to me, is a dance, moments caught between the seconds, swimming in the reality that hides in the shadows. I paint, or rather, I dance with shapes and colors. I have long now been without inspiration. I have felt within the shadow I used to court. Your work has inspired me to step into the light again, with a whole new medium. I just wanted to say thank you.
~ Shawnaly Tabor, Kalispell, MT
To use something that so many hate...I find such beauty in it. Very few can find the power in that monthly flow...but you have...and I find it beautiful.
~ Serena Orman, Kalkaska, MI
Awe and wonder fill me now as I write these words. What joy you must feel to use your body to create such beauty. I am a man, and was never taught that any part of a woman's body was taboo. As a young man, I was surprised and saddened to learn that some women loath the experience of their period, and its issue. Some even felt deep shame and embarrassment. I always saw it as glorious. If your work helps just one woman to see herself as a font of beauty in this context, you will have accomplished something really great.
~ Sander Roscoe Wolff, Executive Director, LongBeachCulture.org
I wanted to tell you that I think your work is absolutely beautiful - it's the most original concept of celebrating what it is to be a woman that I've ever seen.
~ LMC, Devon, UK
Your artwork is completely stunning. The passion you show toward your technique and belief is truly inspiring. I feel I can learn so much about myself, others and simply life just by looking at one of your paintings. And when I do shun away from a few that shock me, I can still reflect on the matter in a positive way. You really do break that image of menstrual blood, and menstruation in general as something disgusting or something to shun and avoid. I agree with many of your fans/followers that it's wonderful to see something so universal in artwork, and still it's so personal. I hope you continue to create such beautiful artwork. I applaud you.
~ Val, Baltimore MD
So few things are truly universal, crossing the boundaries of time and place, of class and culture. Your art is a visual expression of the emotions, harmony, and turmoil associated with womanhood. So what better medium to use in your creations than your own lifeblood, the very thing that makes a woman a woman? I am touched by what your work represents, and I want to thank you for your courage and ingenuity.
~ Amanda Riley, Knoxville, TN
A friend of mine sent me the link to your gallery thinking I would find the pieces horrific. Nope. I LOVE them. What an inspired way to say that our monthly cycles are powerful and beautiful. The symbolic significance of menstrual blood does raise it far, far above the level of simple body waste. You aren't looking to shock, you are channeling the life force. I applaud you for it.
~ Kerri S. McIntire
Beautiful paintings. Very evocative. And as a medium you've reached for something that shouldn't be extraordinary but of course is.
~ Pete Lang, Sacramento, CA
Your talent is truly delightful. It's good to see such splendid composition with clever titles yielding such wonderful art. Actually, it's more than art. It is a socially significant statement, and a bold (yet soft?) indictment; a step into the light. It's rare, in these days of cookie cutter or formula art to discover a pioneer, but today it happened. Thanks for opening my eyes.
~ Art Bach, Blairsville, GA
The magic of moonblood clearly resides in these paintings Vanessa. This reminds me of some mysterious art gallery where there are so many favorite works of art you can't pick just one. The variety here is amazing considering you are using a limited palette of color and a simple white background. I am so glad you chose descriptive titles for them. Mere numbers or abstractions could not convey the creative fire of the medium nearly as well. Besides the paintings are very individualistic expressions of the Artist herself, and these captions give viewers more information than just a referrant name. All the pieces had something to say but the ones that spoke the loudest to me were: "One Root in a Thousand Seeds," "Floating in the Void," "Mirror Dance," "Astral Entry," and "Mar's Fire." Powerful Art indeed. Although "this is the most hidden blood" I do not think these paintings should be ignored or hidden away, so thank you for sharing them with us in such a nicely presented gallerylike fashion. All your journals (and website) give pleasure, provoke thought and are a feast for the eyes.
~ David Torrey, Chicago, IL