These drawers, created by Leona Foerster Linker and manufactured in La Crosse by her company, were the height of modesty. This undergarment is open at the crotch, which to the modern eye may be shocking. In 1909 when the Leona was designed, it was considered scandalous for women to wear pants because that was the clothing of men. The opening at the front of the garment was sufficient for maintaining femininity and also made it easier for women to go to the bathroom.
Susan T. Hessel, originally from St. Louis, came to La Crosse in 1974 as a reporter for the La Crosse Tribune. She is now a personal historian, writer, interviewer and lover of stories of all people and all artifacts.
Mixed Media- Lace, Ink, Fabric
There is something very seductive and secretive about the Leona. But, it is also a simple white undergarment with delicate floral lace and charming buttons. For this work I want to express the beauty and simplicity of the Leona through color, form, and texture.
Misha Bolstad graduated from UWL and went on to receive her MFA at Maine College of Art. She currently teaches graphic design at UWL