The Girly Gang

The other night, while idly surfing Tumblr (yes, I have one of those now too... my social networking problem really is blossoming), I had the most wonderful surprise; I came across a young artist who has utterly inspired me.

Clitoris Patch on Flickr.



Hannah Hill is a seventeen year old textile artist and illustrator from North London. Most of her artwork deals with feminism and female experiences.

Unsure

There's often a wonderfully biting sense of humour to her work, but it's also shot through with a tender, naive vulnerability.

Textiles Worshipping Cult on Flickr.
(I reeeeally want this one on a t-shirt)





Hannah's style reminds me of another, older favourite: Scarlett Barry.

Scarlett seems to have dropped off the (online) radar for the moment  (and I do miss seeing her breathtaking work), but she was a major inspiration for me, particularly when I first turned my hand to cross stitching.



I was particularly drawn to Scarlett's immediate, honest, and simple style.

This is reflected in her drawn work, with its clean yet overlapping lines, often in brown gel pen:


She also cannily uses found objects in her work, in a way which seems almost natural:

Did I mention that she's also gorgeous and a brilliant writer? You can check out Scarlett's highly original art here.
Another fem(me)ale artist whose work I first came across on the online community Livejournal is Jenee Larson.

Jennee's work perfectly straddles (ooh-er) the line between twee and erotic art. And if you don't believe that's possible, check out her Flickr photostream.

Personally I prefer her earlier work to her current haunting (or haunted?) portraits of saucer-eyed femmes fatales, but she is certainly a dab hand with glitter! 

baby moon by meme

Jenee's work is whimsical and strange, as proved by her series of weeping and love-making unicorn-people(not both at the same time, hopefully!)

artosity:

I can dig it

hey i drew this! too bad it didn’t have a credit :(

Around the same time I discovered the work of Scarlett and Jenee, I was sucked into the whimsical world of Joanna "Bunny Mitford". Joanna is another artist of this generation who has completely dropped off the face of the internet, but she always was a mysterious girl, and I imagine this was a carefully concerted part of her charm. The small glimpses of her life that she gave us led me to believe she was as magical as the girls in the children's stories which she used in her art.




Her photography and sense of light was warm as twilight.

Just like Scarlett Barry, Joanna's writing was captivating, perhaps even more so.

She loved the arts, music, paints, nature. Hans Christian Anderson, Van Gogh, Tchaikovsky. They were her favourites. She loved Tchaikovsky because he made his sadness into warmth, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Symphony No.6. She loved Vincent because she felt his loneliness in his paintings. But she couldn’t look at his sunflowers for too long, the yellows stung her eyes. Feeling too much Feeling is too much sometimes. She told me how she thought it was weird you know, that all these people who created such beautiful things were so sad. How sometimes the sadness was so strong that they ended their own lives. Their last work of art.
She said she thought that most geniuses were lonely. I said I thought everyone was lonely. That even the Moon is lonely, and that’s why it pulls on the tides.

I miss her, much like you might miss a friend you've lost contact with over the years. Which is strange, because I never really knew her. 

The final member of "the girly gang" is a bit of a departure from the others.

Chelsea Dirck, at the tender age of 22 or 23, is a veteran of the American punk scene. Her zines, scribblings, type-writings,textile art, and illustrations are a  visual diary of a life lived state-hopping, missing friends and loved ones, listening to music, and having her heart broken.







I've bought quite a bit of Chelsea's work and I urge you to do the same. She's a lovely person and very generous; you may find a little  extra gift or hand-written note in your package.

Why have I introduced all these ladies to you? Because I hope their art will inspire you the way it inspired (and continues to inspire me). All of these artists are young women at the start of their careers, but I believe that each of them is truly "one to watch".

I see these women as my contemporaries, and would be honoured if even one of them felt the same for me.

Love Exists

Love Exists is an online project envisaged by the artist Scarlett Barry, conducted through the social networking site LiveJournal, beginning in July of 2005. Barry encourages members of the Love Exists LiveJournal community to write the phrase "on walls. Carve it in trees. Paint it on our bodies and scream it out loud."


A photograph by Barry to accompany the LiveJournal community
 LiveJournal may since have fallen out of favour with bloggers, but the idea of Love Exists lives on in Flickr and Facebook groups.

I really like the idea of spreading a simple message of love and hope globally.



For example, the above photograph was taken by LiveJournal user darkestblue22 in the Sahara Desert.

Love Exists bears a close resemblance to You Are Beautiful,a street art project operating out of Chicago, which attempts to spread this simple, positive message globally "by any means necessary except through commercial use".

Here's what the project's creators have to say about it:

"You are Beautiful is a simple, powerful statement which is incorporated into the over absorption of mass media and lifestyles that are wrapped up in consumer culture.

The intention behind this project is to reach beyond ourselves as individuals to make a difference by creating moments of positive self realization. We're just attempting to make the world a little better."

You Are Beautiful has truly become a global project, as evidenced by the photographs below; the first was taken in Bailey's Head, Antarctica, and the second in Cape Town, South Africa.




I decided to contribute to the Love Exists project through the most global of networks; the internet.


I took this Polaroid several years ago when I first became aware of the Love Exists project; in fact, when I still had a LiveJournal account. I shared the photograph on LiveJournal through the group the-polaroids, and of course the Love Exists group. I have since uploaded it to Flickr, to share the message with a wider audience.

The message fits seamlessly into the Cure for Love project, and thus I decided to render it in stitch. I chose cross stitch for a bit of variation from all the straight embroidery I've been doing lately, and also because cross stitch gives such a regular and crisp appearance to text, and so works perfectly with the scrabble tiles. The design is based loosely on the Polaroid. I really like the simplicity of the piece. I've also shared it on Flickr and submitted it to the Love Exists Flickr group.


A Trail of Thread













Last year my housemates were very amused by the fact that wherever I went in the house, a trail of embroidery thread followed.

Aside from a brief stint during GCSE Textiles, I began embroidering in earnest whilst recovering from a period of illness. This afforded me a lot of time to fill, and to occupy me my dad bought me a couple of craft kits, one of which was a set of make-your-own hand puppets. Sewing the simple tiger template together re-introduced me to the methodical, repetitive and (helpfully) time-consuming process of embroidery.

Encouraged by the simple yet impactful cross-stitched confessional texts of Scarlett Barry, I began cross-stitching my own writing. As a writer, text is obviously my most important medium, and I was pleased with the crisp, regular appearance of cross stitched text. Cross stitch is a craft which both my grandmothers engage in, and so I feel it has been handed down to me.



Scarlett Barry's confessional cross stitch


My own cross-stitched writing

I also began experimenting with standard hand embroidery, coupling one-liners, misheard phrases and puns, with detailed hand-stitched illustrations. This embroidery followed in the tradition of samplers with their combination of image and text. The naivety of my first attempts at hand embroidery is also reminiscent of these samplers, which were often undertaken by very young children.


One of my first attempts at hand embroidery

For this project I will be using the medium of embroidery to explore themes of love and loss. I will embroider onto linens handed down to me from my grandmother, in turn handed down to her from my great grandmother, to emphasise the domestic and feminine associations of the craft, as well as the notion that it is a craft handed down from mother to daughter.