Selfies Are Self Care Potion

There's a Tumblr post that's garnering notes by the thousands. It goes something like this: selfies are a product of teenage girls being in control of their own image and its dissemination. Of course they're going to be criticised.

When I post a selfie, I am posting it mainly to an audience of other women. I am luxuriating in my own image, for me, and for them. I am circumnavigating, perhaps even blocking the male gaze.

Another note-rich Tumblr post reads "I post selfies for myselfie, not for youie."

Women are often accused of being bitchy, competitive, throwing other women under the bus for the attention of men. In my ventures into the worlds of Tumblr and Instagram (there are currently 238,955,445 posts tagged "selfie" on Instagram alone), this is not something I have encountered.

Instead, women compliment each other. They congratulate each other on their appearance, and, more importantly, on their achievements and personal celebrations in day to day life. 

But my selfies are not just for my "audience". They are a means of recording times when I feel most content with myself, most excited about what my day has in store for me, and even a way of validating myself when I feel less than rosy; a slick of red lipstick and I'm ready to face the world. And perhaps, when I look back on the photograph I took that day, I will realise that it wasn't so bad in the end after all, and that moment of recording myself quite literally putting a brave face on it was the turning point in my day.

In this spirit, I got myself all glammed up, scrawled "Selfies are self care" on a chalkboard, and spent four pounds in a photobooth, to create this week's #secretsofselfpreservation potion.



And the "ingredients" for this potion? A beaded lipstick red ruffled ribbon bearing the ultimate 21st Century self care instruction: "Take more selfies".











Selfie esteem.
Selfie validation.
Selfie worth.

Selfie care.

(With deference to @angstravaganza.)


Things from the forest

I've been busy with a hundred and one different things the last couple of weeks, and thus have been neglecting Poesie Grenadine. But you can expect a whole raft of posts and updates coming over the next week.

One of the things I've been busy with is making lots of cute new brooches to put in the Etsy shop. I will be updating the shop tomorrow, but in the meantime, here are two sweet little 'shroom brooches.



Sweet Violet

After many, many hours, my Victorian beadwork violets are ready to be slipped into a pocket of my "shrinking violet" page of artist's book number three, Milk Thistle.



Milk Thistle will be an exploration of the language and symbolism of flowers; of the journey from sickness to recovery, and Romantic literature's preoccupation with tragic heroines.






Gold Star

As a habitual pessimist and anxiety queen, I have recently begun keeping a record of one good thing from each day, to remind myself that actually, my life is pretty darn good.
 
I've also been indulging in an incredibly childish (and mildly embarrassing) practice; giving myself reward stickers.
 
A few months back, on the advice of friend, collaborator and fellow artist Hannah Hill, I started keeping a record of daily to-dos and achievements as a means of patting myself on the back (something I'm often not very good at) and as an impetus to get stuff done. I nicked Hannah's idea and added reward stickers, and as I noted at the time, self-imposed bribery to do things via a stickers-based reward system worked (un)surprisingly well. Yes, I am a child.
 
There's something about gold reward stars in particular that is incredibly crave-inducing; they must be engineered that way. Maybe its my innate and irritating perfectionism, mixed with nostalgia for primary school, I don't know.
 
Anyway, in homage to the humble gold star reward sticker, I wanted to make a series of work celebrating the minor achievements of us bumbling humans as we muddle our way through life, making it up as we go along and getting bumps and scrapes which (hopefully) only serve to make us a little bit stronger... I'm bumbling myself now.
 
I'm tentatively calling the project Treasures For Your Troubles, which is what the first embellished piece of the series spells out, in (what else) golden star sequins.

 




 
The next element of the project (which will be a multimedia undertaking) will be accomplished with the aid of my trusty old Polaroid Spectra camera, and some Impossible Project film which I was happy to find had arrived when I got in from work this evening. Now if only we'd have some good weather, I could get on with it! Just one of the (very minor) obstacles in life the project is all about overcoming.

Life! Death! Prizes!


“Life! Death! Prizes!” (complete with exclamation marks) is the rather incongruous strapline of Chat magazine, “your smart real-life read”, aka one of the recent spate of pulp magazines, that, as one reviewer of a book named for the strapline puts it, trade “in human misery by revelling in real-life traumas”.
On a lighter note, I was tickled by the phrase and cross stitched it during my second year at university.
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I chose green as the colour for “life!” due to its association with nature and new life, red for “death!” due to the obvious connotations of blood (alternatively red could have been used for “life!” for the same reason), and a variety of bright colours for “prizes!”, analogous with a flashing neon sign that would be found in an amusement arcade or fairground.
The phrase stuck in my head as I began to plan The Constellation Quilt, and the idea that it could be a neon sign hanging in a fairground made me think that it would make the perfect companion piece to my “fortune telling” patch, with a wheel of fortune or fairground fortune slot vibe.
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When translating the phrase into a patch for The Constellation Quilt, I kept the colours of the text the same (adding purple flowers growing out of the “life!” line), but chose a different font for each word. I think the font of “prizes!” is particularly akin to a neon sign. To add to this effect, I stitched star sequins and purple beads, to tone in with the rest of the quilt, issuing out in rays of “neon light”.
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This was my first time using water soluble cross stitch aida, and I’m largely happy with the results, although as the plastic  texture of the aida makes it difficult to use an embroidery hoop, there is some puckering between the words.
Here is the patch alongside its companion piece. Only three more patches to go, and then it’s the scary part; piecing together the quilt by hand.
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"You will meet a tall dark stranger"


As I mentioned in my previous post, this patch of The Constellation Quilt is all about Polly Kettle’s fortune telling. I couldn’t help but refer back to my Fortunate Cookie Predicts Pavement Proposal embroidery which featured in my project The Cure For Love with this patch; a number of rhyming cookie fortunes are strewn next to Polly’s sparkling crystal ball. I must apologise for taking so long to post this; the “mystic rays” radiating out from the centre of the crystal ball ate up a LOT of thread, and I’ve just been away for the weekend (I know, excuses, excuses!)
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Any Talking Heads fans may notice that I’ve borrowed a bit of a lyric from Once In A Lifetime with the first fortune, “You  may find yourself behind the wheel of a large Land Ranger“:

I decided to make all the fortunes rhyme to add a playful, light-hearted sense to the patch; I don’t think the occult should be taken too seriously! I’m just about to start the companion piece to this patch, in which I will be playing with water soluble aida (or cross stitch) fabric for the first time; I’m excited to see the results!