280 Nails/Cloves for Every Day of Pregnancy


As the thirteenth century German mystic Gertrude of Helfta drifted to sleep one night, she had a vision that the crucifix by her bed began to lean towards her and topple over. Gertrude records that she also heard the voice of Christ speak to her of his love. She held the crucifix between her breasts, echoing Song of Songs 1:12, “a bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me, he shall abide between my breasts.” When she awoke from the vision, Gertrude removed the iron nails from the crucifix and replaced them with cloves, replacing a symbol of suffering with a symbol of joy.

This installation of two overlapping circles – one made of cloves and the other of nails – creates a mandorla, an almond-shape which often enclosed images of the Virgin Mary and Christ child in early Christian art and is thought to reference the overlap of spirit and flesh.

Installation, 2017

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Installation, 2017

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