These are two pieces I just finished baed on sketches I did of diagrams from my human sexuality class in college.
I’ve been meaning to stitch these for a long time, funny thing is, I’m not even sure where the diagrams are anymore so I can’t name some of the things that are numbered on the male cross section (my memory is the worst!).
I am also particularly proud of the backs of the work I’ve been doing lately. It makes me feel really good to have a nice clean back with no knots.
Here is the sketch they are from-
I tried to make them look as much like a sketch as I could. The drawing has black pen and colored pen. Since it is ink you can see the black from under the color and that was the hardest thing for me to figure out how to translate to embroidery. I ended up doing everything in the colors with two threads and then doing the black with one so you would see the color around it. You can click any of the photos to go to my Flickr page and see them in much bigger sizes.
I was honored to have the Vulva Mary featured on a blog of vulva art. Wrenna Robertson, who include me in this blog also offered to send me a copy of her amazing book “I’ll Show You Mine“.
The book is a collection of photographs of vulvas. Each photo is taken by the same photographer from the same angle and in the same light.
The book has an amazing mission; provide a resource for people to see vulvas and the variation in vulvas. This will not only help others feel more comfortable with their own vulvas ( and others) but will get people to recognize that the vulva exists!
It is interesting to read the intro, where the author writes about how many people say vagina when they mean vulva because we’re never taught the specific names of our genitals, and then continue on to the writing of the models. Many of them refer to their vulva as a vagina, something that really stands out after the introduction. In college and even now, my mission is to get people to use vulva when they mean vulva. After all, we don’t say elbow when we mean arm (not a perfect metaphor, I know).
I’m the type of person who would use this as a coffee table book. Call it consciousness raising if you want, but I just want to provide my friends the opportunity to see other vulvas. Having the book around is a great way to create the opportunity without shoving it in anyone’s face.
I was also thrilled to see the inclusion of a few trans bodies in the book, and that these bodies are not held to any different standard than the others.
The book can be found at showoffbooks.com (or clicking the picture or my other links) and is sold from $30 to$50 on a sliding scale. They also provide copies to physicians offices and resource centers.
I suggest checking it out and reevaluating your ideas about what female genitals should look like.
The Vulva Mary is one of the embroidery works I’m most proud of. I conceptualized it, I drew up a pattern, and I made it real. It also marries two of the things I am passionate about- embroidery and feminism. One of my missions in college (and in life) when I was running The Alternative Clinic was to get people to recognize and use the word “vulva”. The vulva is the outer part of the female genitals, pretty much what you can see without a flashlight or speculum. but many people just refer to the whole kit and kaboodle as the vagina, which to me erases important parts of people bodies. You don’t call the whole face a nose or mouth if you mean the whole face, so why say vagina when you mean vulva?
The concept for the Vulva Mary came from a realization I had and then some googling I did that lead me to this essay by Anai Bendai. The essay is about how many variations of the image of the goddess were used to inspire images of the Virgin of Guadeloupe and other images of “The Virgin.” I am not a very religious person, so my concept is more about the power of the Vulva and an interest in how many organized religions oppress its women but worship the Vulva, perhaps without realization.
I’ve also stitched some related body parts.
I think I may stitch some more like this soon, perhaps a series of male genitalia or some non-binary genitalia.