Final year project
Out the closet [Read more]
Degree show during quarantine. 'A journey into gay emancipation'
My degree show is the journey of homosexual emancipation from social constructed heterosexuality within the UK. All the work displayed in this exhibition is achieved through freehand machine embroidery due to my research into queer craft. As homosexuality was punishable by death until 1861 and illegal until 1967, gays had to hide their identity so I drew inspiration from the term ‘in the closet’. This universally known term is about hiding a sexual identity that deviates social norms. Researching further, the term originates in the 17th Century where a closet was a domestic safe room. I wanted my exhibition within a safe domestic setting and the symbolism of a physical ‘closet’. The journey ends with a mirror. It reflects us in our current day with a free identity. The audience is encouraged to try on the jackets with the icons to tribute the achievements and risks they took which allows us to have this free identity.
I chose to iconise the portraits of important gay activists to tribute their risks and show the power shift towards homosexual emancipation.
Mary and Frued
From research conducted for my dissertation theorists such as Judith Butler state that social construction is the result of repeated behaviours, in this case heterosexuality. This is achieved by negatively punishing those who deviate uniformity, both visually and characteristically in society, until it becomes a norm. Margaret Cruikshank, believed that Christianity was an authority that influenced not only society but other sectors such as psychology through Butler’s techniques of social construction. When psychiatrists stated homosexuality as ‘sick’, it made them focus to a hatred from a new sector society. However, psychology is not derived by facts and like stated above ‘psychiatric concept of homosexuality is believed to be the result of Christian influences upon the law in relation to asceticism’ (Dynes, 1990, p.793). Therefore, I knew the beginning of my exhibition needed two portraits to represent these two historical authorities.
Close up of embroidered Mary portrait
One of the gay icon jackets in my degree show
The final emphasis of my exhibition is where the journey ends which is a mirror. It reflects us in our current day with a free identity. The audience is encouraged to try on the jackets with the icons to tribute the achievements and risks they took which allows us to have this free identity.
Each of the 65+ moths contains 5 handpicked individual and unique fabrics that best demonstrate the texture of moths. Alongside, two antennas and lepidoptera lips (the spiral tongue) made from plaiting wire to get the structure to hold.
They are all unique through freehand and hand embroidered designs on the four wings. Some contain gold leaf on the wings and antennas to be suggestive of power on what the moth has landed on, hence why the moths on mirror have much more gold compared to the dusting on the antennas of the moth on the authorities.
Pencil drawing aged eye
Although my practice focuses on embroidery I also use pencil drawing to develop my knowledge on the lines and the natural flow of facial features and skin structures which helps benefit my embroidery work.
Embroidery of baby
This was from a previous project that explored nature vs nurture to determine agency in current day society.
This is a self portrait through freehand embroidery. This piece was displayed in The New Walk Museum Leicester and won The Attenborough Award 2019.
I am an award winning freehand embroidery artist.
I am an extremely hard worker and very driven, specifically while studying I volunteered throughout my degree for the international enterprise company Enactus, where my team became finalists; within the team I provided my creative skills to design affordable prosthetics for third world countries and other products that aid amputees in this country too. In my second year I was chosen to lead a team of thirty artists for an exhibition, 'Landed 2019', which was a successful show held in four shipping containers. In my third year I won the Attenborough Award for my freehand embroidery. I visit international trade shows multiple times a year to understand current trends in the art and textile industry and how my art can be translated into a successful business. I am interested in culture and travel and I use the knowledge and experiences gained to further my practice, it also keeps my practice up-to-date by visiting museums across the world, for my final show David Hockney's exhibition in Amsterdam was highly influential. Furthermore, I worked part-time for Fatface throughout my degree, where I would regularly provided help with merchandising the store, through working hard I was able to meet the CEO.
How Joan E. Biren, Kate Millett and Harmony Hammond challenged lesbian and female identity through art within 1970s-1980s America?
Final year project
Out the closet
- The Attenborough Award.
- Winner at The Open 30 - Work displayed in The New Walk Museum for two months in a room next to Picasso's work.
- Finalist for Enactus International Enterprise Award by designing affordable prosthetics for third world countries alongside designer for PrepMate (within Enactus) for kitchen aid for amputees.
- Leader for 'Landed' 2019 Exhibition.
- Work promoted by The Ashurst Emerging Artist and the Visual Art Open.
My voluntary work for Enactus was extremely professional, when designing prosthetics for third world countries I needed to create affordable products but also follow intricate designs that would be approved medically. Therefore, I had to gain knowledge from medical books and specialists in several meeting to apply that to my creative skills. It also included creating other amputee aid products, which involved organising a startup business alongside having to reach deadlines fluidly within a group in order to successful. Overall, our work was successful as we reached the Enactus finals.
Throughout my degree I worked for Fatface part-time for three years, this was highly beneficial as it developed my teamwork skills, alongside, confidence with the public and tailoring each sale based on the individual. While working there I aided with merchandising the store both internally and external elements.
Design work for Zamsoe, an internationally selling jewellery business, alongside accompanying the business to several trade shows which provided knowledge on current retail trends for the jewellery sector. I was involved in designing product ranges for existing and new market audiences. It allowed me to experience the use of digital and social media in marketing a jewellery brand.
I have also done several painting commissions ranging from beachscapes, inspired by living at Porthcothan Bay Cornwall, to abstract work for private clients.
Prior to my degree I volunteered for the community from aged 14 from Oxfam, to raising £215 in one day for homeless charities in my local area, and to mentoring children. I have awards in the National Citizen Service and all levels of my Duke of Edinburgh Award.