Forgive the Martha Stewart reference; I couldn’t resist.
I’m a self-taught sewer. This means that I’ve made a lot of really bad stuff. But, on the other hand, I’m a classically trained painter, and I’ve made a lot of truly tragic paintings too, so I’m not sure that means much. However, I will say, that the circumstances that make for good art always come our failures.
About a year ago, I started work on an embroidered self portrait. I don’t really think when I’m creating, but somehow that is when I manage to work out all my inner nonsense. At that point last year I was struggling a bit with some femme identity issues, and so creating a piece about myself was really a balm for me. While I was working on this particular piece it occurred to me that I had a full project already planned out.
I want to learn more about female identity: the loss of it, the removal of it, the ignoring of it, the embracing of it, the presentation of it, the acceptance of it, the different ways it can be interpreted, and the emotions associated with it, etc. etc. etc. What I am asking for is your help. I need your participation.
The purpose of the series is to present various perspectives on female identity through the medium of what is commonly thought of as a traditional female medium: hand embroidery. These perspectives will be presented by a nude embroidered portrait with an accompanying anonymous paragraph authored by the participant. Each portrait will be placed in a shadowbox environment with the anonymous paragraph.
I am requesting that anyone who feels a reaction to the phrase “female identity” participate. Originally, I had planned to list all the various labels we as a community use for ourselves and mention that these are welcome to participate. But, then I realized that so many of us reject labels, or don’t fit into labels, and truly this is about inclusion.
Please submit a paragraph (or more, but please understand that it may have to be edited) about how you respond to female identity. I know this is a wide area, so feel free to put what is most poignant to you. Next, I ask that you send me a picture of yourself. This does not have to be a nude portrait; but I do ask that I be able to roughly gauge your body (are you tall, short, thick, thin, curvy?). Since the portrait is to be nude, I would humbly request that you let me know in which manner you would like your most private areas represented (cisgendered, lesbian, trans-femme pre-op and the like are perfectly fine –I’m pretty quick on the uptake). It is also perfectly okay to indicate that you prefer this remain private. In this case, the portrait will depict an undergarment.
Please send your information to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your identity will remain completely private; no one will know your identity save myself. All participants will be personally contacted by me as soon as their portrait is finished (so you will be able to preview a bit of the final product). When a showing of the series is to be presented all participants will be invited.
I really do hope that if you have any response to this that you do participate. The more viewpoints the series has, the more powerful it will be. I think that we have so many people today that go under-voiced, or go unrecognized. . . And, let me just say this: “I want to hear you.”
Please note that in submitting to this series it is with the understanding that you will not retain any legal rights to the paragraph you send, or to the doll created from the information you send.
And, just to be fair. . .here I am: