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Sex Shops on the Highstreet

While researching stores that could potentially be interested in my collection and I came across an interesting BBC article about sex shops hitting the highstreet in 2004.

Its crazy because as a 14 year old in 2004, I didn’t see these shops emerging and feel I’m just used to having shops such as Ann Summers on the highstreet.

I love how this article is opened!

“A sexual revolution is sweeping Britain’s high streets like a Rampant Rabbit through a hen party.”

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Voyeur Collection, Ann Summers

So I found a collection that is a perfect example of the type of thing I am trying to achieve with my final collection. Ann Summers sold a collection called Voyeur, is was a delicate, French inspired design that was use on underwear, toiletry bags, sleep wear and wallpaper. The subtly sexy part about this collection is using voyeurism,  from a distance the design looks like a classy wallpaper, but up close you see that the images used are erotic and include pictures of penis’ and sex scenes. My collection wont be inspired by French or romantic images, but I would like the same theme of it being discretely erotic.

 

 


Fanny Casting

I can happily say I finally cast some fannys!! I absolutely loved it! Admittedly I was nervous, my first model is a friend from Newport University and she based a lot of her Fine Art degree work around erotica, so was not only understanding of the work I’m doing but completely supportive! It made for a very interesting afternoon, and I thoroughly enjoyed every stage of the process! Using Jamie McCartney’s Great Wall of Vagina page (and through a little trial and error) I have 4 beautiful vagina casts! One of them did break when trying to remove the plaster from the alginate, which I am gutted about because that particular model has a piercing and it looks fantastic in the cast!

This is something I will continue to do outside of my studies, I haven’t decorated any of them yet as I am concentrating on designs for my final collection, but A friend is opening a store in Cardiff and has asked for one to put on display 🙂


  
  
  


Life Drawing feat. Sex Workers

Lauren Zoe is taking life drawing to the next level, and I love it! Although the drive and meaning behind her work is slightly different to mine, I am so into what she is trying to do. It seems we have something in common, we are both final year Art & Design students, trying to make sex, erotica and our naked bodies more acceptable and remove the long standing taboo. I love the look of the work produced and this has inspired me to try a life drawing class (sadly it wont be one involving sex workers), Its been years since I tried life drawing and I know there is an evening class local!

Please give the article a read, its very powerful and I believe in supporting this beatiful, erotic art!

Meet the woman using art to demystify sex work

Lauren Zoe’s life drawing classes want participants to witness the sex acts as they happen

Being a sex worker has never been easy, but since the government introduced prohibitive anti-vulgarity laws in 2014, the problems associated with sex work have become much more acute. Pornography, prostitution and stripping remain stigmatised, while other forms of sex work – likesugar babies and escort services – barely register in the public consciousness.

Lauren Zoe is trying to change that. A final-year art student at Goldsmiths’ University – and vice president of Britain’s only student sex worker solidarity group – Lauren has just started running a series of all-female life-drawing classes that use sex workers as muses. She’s hoping to demystify sex work, pushing back against mainstream depictions of the profession. Most sex workers in Britain, she tells me, aren’t lavishly-paid call-girls or desperate women with no other option. I went to one of her classes to find out more.

There aren’t many events like this – what made you want to do this class?

Lauren Zoe: I’ve life-modelled predominantly for white male artists, and I didn’t have a great experience with it. I was sexually assaulted by an artist, and when I spoke to the police about it I was told that there was no point going through with it because I was naked. In my work with the Sex Worker Solidarity Society, I heard about similar experiences, and the idea for these classes developed from there. I’ve done various jobs, from certain types of sex work to life-modelling, being a secretary; all these jobs were performative and revolved around my femininity and sexuality. This idea that somebody being naked means they’re readily sexual for everyone else is an idea that needs to be undone, not just for sex-workers but in general.

“This idea that somebody being naked means they’re readily sexual for everyone else is an idea that needs to be undone” – Lauren Zoe

You say models shouldn’t necessarily be sexualised – how will that work in your class?

Lauren Zoe: Our models will be performing sexual acts, but the artists and the class members will not behave sexually towards those performers. There will be an understanding in the room that people can’t react sexually towards them. It will be still poses first, then either a striptease or a live cam show, and we’re deciding whether she’ll do some re-enactments of BDSM. That’d be quite a good variety of performances to experiment with.

What kind of performers have you got involved?

Lauren Zoe: Our first performer works as an escort, as a camgirl and as a pornstar. She does a lot of activism as well, she runs the SWSS. I like the idea of using people who won’t normally be used as life models… it’s kind of hard with the sex work performances, because I absolutely refuse to underpay a sex worker. That completely goes against what I’m trying to do. I’ll pay the performers as close as I can to the rate they would get for sex work.

Why is it so important for you that sex workers are paid a certain rate? Is it about legitimising it?

Lauren Zoe: It’s because it’s fair. I’m consuming their time that they could be using to work elsewhere. I don’t think any work should be cheapened for the sake of art. People see sex work either as something you do because you’re desperate or something you do because you’re greedy. They think it’s something they won’t do because of their values or morals. But shaming the worker for what they do and ignoring the difficulties workers face is a problem – it’s still work.

Has there been any negative feedback on it?

Lauren Zoe: Not on campus. But we do get people saying we shouldn’t be condoning sex work. A lot of those people aren’t based in the UK, so they come from countries where the politics surrounding sex work are different. We do like connecting with people abroad, and screen a lot of documentaries from other countries. But we do find that people from America, say, will inbox us and abuse us. But it doesn’t drag us down at all. The aim is to create an educational space where marginalised people can speak their minds. I think art should encourage that sort of personal development and self-expression. The class is intended for people who want to discuss their own experiences of gender, but also relax and have fun. It’ll be quite a diverse group.

Do you think the lack of funding for similar art shows a bit of a lack of care?

Lauren Zoe: I’d love it to be arts council-funded, but I don’t see that happening! I think the fact that it’s funded by individuals rather than supported by institutions shows a lack of respect. Even the SWSS shows have been funded through sex work, not via university funding. I think that spoke volumes.

 


Creating simple repeats

While researching different ways to create repeat pattern, I came across this really simple, quick and effective way! I will be trying this out with a design of my own.

1. Draw a design.

Start in the middle of your paper. You can use any size, but I’d recommend 8.5 x 11 to give yourself plenty of room, plus that’s probably the most handy. Use a pen since it will photocopy best, or start with pencil and trace over your lines. Make sure to distribute an even amount of solid color, which will help with visual consistency in the final tile. Most importantly, do not touch the edges of the paper!

 

2. Cut, flip, tape.

Cut your drawing in half. (I know, this is scary! You can do it. Remember you can always copy, scan, or photograph your original for safekeeping.) Consider using an exacto knife for a clean cut, but scissors are fine, too.

Once you have your two piece, flip them so the original outer edges touch, back to back. Then, tape your two halves together. Tape on the backside so your drawing stays clean.

 

3. Repeat: cut (the other way), flip, tape.

Rotate your page, and cut it in half again (the other way, so that the two cuts form a cross). Flip these two new halves, and tape them back together. Again, the tape should go on the back.

  

4. Draw in the blank spaces.

Since your design is now on the outer edges, you’re likely seeing a big blank space in the middle. Fill it in! Draw in all the empty bits and finish your drawing. As before, don’t draw on the edges.

When you’re done drawing, step back and admire your work. This is your repeat tile. Isn’t it beautiful?

 

5. Copy, copy, copy — and assemble!

Now that you have your tile, the possibilities are limitless! You can photocopy it and assemble it for wallpaper, book covers, posters, or gift wrap. You can add color or embellishments. You can scan it and bring it into Photoshop or Illustrator for final touches. Maybe you digitize it for your desktop or phone background. Most importantly, have fun.

Happy patterning!

 

 


External examiner

Last week I got to meet the external examiner, Dr Melanie Miller. Although I was very nervous, the short but sweet meeting went very well! Dr Miller seemed to like my idea, and was very interested to see how I would take erotica, a theme most often used in art and convert it to textiles. After looking at the (unfinalised) designs, She made a good suggestion that I might think about what a man/woman might want to see and consider my audience, suggesting that a lesbian woman could be really interested in a wallpaper featuring the use of women but not men, and vice versa. I do agree with this, and I am thinking of separating the two for the majority of my designs, but I would like to experiment with the two together. 

All in all I think the meeting went well, I took on board what Dr Miller had to say and will continue to think about this as I design my collection.