Embroidering Lady Gardens and Catchphrases Concerning Women of the Night


Hey, you! Do Georgia O'Keeffe paintings make you uncomfortable? Have you found that you and Pat Robertson laugh at the same jokes? Can you recall a time when you were offended by something I posted on this blog? Then maybe you should close this tab and come back to Maryannimal never again some other day.

I'm usually eager to share my embroidery projects on my blog, but this was the first time I paused for a second (or two or three) beforehand. Will people think these are weird? I know and admire so many fearless people, fearless artists. But when it comes to me doing something even the slightest bit 'distasteful' or dark I get weirdly nervous about people's response. I hope that's something I can outgrow the older I get.

Anyway, to the Craaafts!

This first one I saw an image of on the internet when searching for free embroidery patterns. Unfortunately for the life of me I cannot find the original image or its source. If you can find it please send it to me so I can post it. [EDIT: Found the original!] Suffice to say, this is not my original design, idea, or concept. I take no credit! I just really liked it and wanted to make one for myself.

The flowers in the original were much better, the French knot kind. I watched a ton of youtube videos but could not master the technique, so I had to go with my more mundane flowers:

They're still pretty cute, at least from a distance. Anyway, I don't think I need to go into some huge explanation as to why I thought this design/idea was awesome and I wanted to embroider it. I just think it gives a positive and lovely expression/meaning to a view (fat thighs included) and body part that elicits a variety of emotions and feelings for women. Some examples: pleasure, pain, shame, what it means to be a woman, fertility, health, age, etc. In a culture/society that likes to paint women as Madonnas or whores, the vagina is either the source of lust or the giver of life. Here, it's a pretty garden at the top of your legs. Fun and whimsical, but in a feminist way.

Speaking of whores, the second project is a lot less loaded. It's a quote from one of the best shows ever, Black Books. In the 2nd episode the main character Bernard is trying to do his taxes for his bookstore. His new employee Manny is a former accountant:

Manny: Well, the thing here...uh, takings... £370.
Bernard: That's good.
Manny: Yeah, but your outgoings were over £1200.
Bernard: Well...whores will have their trinkets.

I don't think I can or should explain why that's funny in its context (here's the whole episode, the above conversation happens at 14:30) but as someone who is pretty terrible with money and makes excuses for buying all kinds of non-essential things, I quite relate to the saying. So I embroidered it.

(I don't think it can actually be considered offensive to sex workers, but if it is please tell me.) And those are my latest embroidery projects!


jonathan edmund said...

Umm....can I have a flowery male equivalent for my birthday?

loverstreet said...

both of these are awesome. i especially love how the left leg is "unfinished" and just continues on. so very, very impressive. also, your cursive is better in embroidery floss than mine is in pen.

i have seen a lot of great embroidery things that i have begun to covet. do you think i could commission you to make something for the baby's room. we hope to raise a babe that is strong and passionate, so i am on the search for just the right thing, but it would mean the world to me to have a MA original (especially since i see you embodying both strength and passion). let me know your thoughts...

Maryann said...

Jonathan I love that you like it that much! I'll have to think about whether or not I could do a male version. I'd be happy to make you a female one, but I can understand if that's not what you want.

And Lindsey, YESSS!

theresa clare said...

These are awesome.

LaLa said...