Reclaiming Women’s Work.

I am an embroidery artist. I am a feminist. I can’t do them separately.

My beliefs inspire my work and a conscious reclamation of “women’s work” is present in my embroidery.  I am impressed by the community of artists I have found online on sites like Flickr (the Phat Quarter group in particular) who use embroidery in a subversive way. Many of these people are men, further deviating from the idea of “women’s work”.

The Phat Quarter group regularly does swaps which I think reflects some of the DIY ideals of the Riot Grrl movement. I really enjoy making something tangible to give to someone, and I love receiving someone’s work. The swaps are so encouraging because you get to see other peoples work and I have never felt discouraged or not good enough.

I was very proud this summer when I woke up one saturday morning for work and saw one of my pieces on the Mr X Stitch blog. My Vulva Mary had been posted on NSFW saturday (here is the post). This and the time the fuckyeahladygaga tumblr reblogged my cross-stitch (seen here) make up my 15 minutes of fame.

I don’t aspire to be internet or real life famous, but I love when people enjoy my work and are (possibly) inspired by it. I think that just because needlework and crafts are what women historically have been encouraged to pursue as a hobby rather than going into the “fine arts” (generally speaking this meant painting) doesn’t mean it is not an important and beautiful medium to work in. The history of needlework really lends itself to feminist art because of its accessibility (it is not a hard thing to learn!) and straightforwardness as well as the subversive possibilities.

Since this is sort of an introduction I will link you to my flickr (which you can see to the right)-

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lesliegrace/

I encourage you to pick up a needle and some thread and start embroidering if you don’t already. Please check out these great homes to embroidery on the web:

The flickr Phat Quarter group

The Mr X Stitch blog

The Subversive cross stitch website and flickr group

The Feeling Stitchy group blog and flickr group

The Sew Lovely Embroidery website, blog, and flickr page and,

The Sublime Stitching website.

There are so many more great sites and resources but I’ll stop there for now.

I’m off to stitch something,

Leslie

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