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Final Major Project Reflection

When starting my final major project I had so many yet so few ideas all filling my head at once. I am always most inspired ay colour, usually fashion/era but this time I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and use this final project to discover something new about myself as a designer. The theme for my project was loosely inspired by my dissertation, which I thoroughly enjoyed writing and researching so I really wanted to try and bring something over and express parts of my dissertation visually as well as bringing in many other new aspects. The part of my dissertation that I wanted to interoperate most was the theme of powerful women, or more so women being powerful but at this stage of my project I was finding it difficult to combine this with something more and apply it to my textile design.

I don’t remember at exactly which point I decided to research erotica and use this in my designs but as soon as I did my work just seemed to unfold more naturally, research became more interesting and I began unfolding a world or artists and designers that’s I had never seen before. I have always chosen to embrace sexuality and have never been embarrassed of naked bodies, sex or all the bits in between, in fact I have been told that I can be a little crude. During the very early stages of my research and development I thought about how some people think that I am too forward or open and I came to the conclusion that this may be because nudity, sex and expressing yourself sexually is something that is rarely seen on a day to day basis, the reason being that society has deemed this as rude and unsuitable, leading to some very embarrassed and sexually unaware people! For these reasons and more I chose to research and design all things erotic and have (I hope) successfully created a collection of designs that can be used/displayed in the home that promote sexuality and do so without being explicit.

Firstly I chose my colour pallet, this would be key for getting the correct balance of sexual imagery and home friendly designs so using WGSN I created a pallet of colours predicted for S/S 2016. I then started to get together a body of drawings and research, I did start my research by looking at both men and women’s bits, in the hope of not being sexist but throughout the early to mid-stages of my project I decided that it would be much more difficult to successfully target the appropriate audience while trying to incorporate both male and female parts, so with this in mind my work took a more female inspired turn.

Many of the drawings used for my designs were from pornographic images, which made for very interesting research. By using very explicit images and softening them with continuous line drawings and splashes of colour I began to create a more society-friendly collection of imagery.  I concentrated on genitalia, nipples and masturbation, getting a collection of drawings and marks that I would then use to turn into repeat designs digitally. I was nervous of creating my collection entirely digital because this is something that I have done relatively little of in past projects, I tend to be more hands on when designing but I found that by using Photoshop and Illustrator I could turn my base images more simply and efficiently into repeat designs than if I were trying to do this by other methods, screen printing for example.

A big part of my research was body casting, inspired by artist Jamie McCartney I decided vagina and nipple casting was a great way to really get in touch with my theme. Although this started off slow, the outcome was more than I could have hoped for! Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the entire process of casting, from researching the process, to finding models to actually casting, my call out for models caught a lot of attention which resulted in me and my work being published in several paper articles! I could be happier with this, I learned something new, very much enjoyed it and got recognised for it. Body casting as well as erotic themed design I believe is something I will continue to do as I take my next steps as a designer, it something that has been more inspiring than I could have every imagined and I realise now that there are so many avenues that work if this nature can take. I have received approving messages for various artists around Europe, including a few messages passed back and forth between Jamie McCartney and myself.

As the deadline neared I was pleased to step into the final stages of my project, getting to research into and experiment with different fabrics, although this was possibly one of the most difficult stages of the project. With fabric choice comes many potential issues, which I soon discovered. I had problems with my designs resulting in a few round of pre samples being ordered, not to mention my final samples being 3 days late! Through this I believe I have stayed true to my brief and created a delicate and beautiful collection of designs suitable for the bedroom (I do believe these deigns could be applied to many other areas though) which is inoffensive and would be a statement in the home.


Self Directed Hypothetical Brief (Finalised)

Theme:

My chosen theme is Female Erotica, I am going to create a collection of 32x32cm designs  which will be suitable for bedding, wallpaper and pillows/cushions. My target market is a more adult audience. My theme has been developed through my dissertation which talks about tattooed women making a statement about their bodies and who owns them, from this I researched erotic art. I will be looking at both the male and female body but will concentrating more closely on feminine images and motifs.

Overall Aim:

To produce a collection of designs, inspired by erotic art and aimed at a broad age market of 18-40+. Due to the nature of my designs I could be difficult to design for a high street market but by being subtle and delicate with the subject I want to target both high street stores and also a more niche market. The collection will be boutique inspired to create an ‘Erotic-chic’ style. I intend on creating my designs and collection by using drawings, various print techniques and possibly incorporating some stitch. I will then scan in and use Photoshop and Illustrator or create my collection.

Objectives:

  • Research – Artists who specialise in eroticism, prints, drawing, sculptures etc.
  • Adult themed interiors and furnishings.
  • Sketch Book – using a range of mixed media, produce a body of drawings and mark makings.
  • Colour – Choose a colour pallet that is on trend for s/s17.
  • Repeat – Produce repeat designs and samples successfully using croquis.
  • Techniques – Create my deigns and samples using various print techniques, specifically lino, screen print, heat transfer and digital print. I also want to use techniques within these such as resist and fabric manipulation.
  • Display collection appropriately and professionally for exhibition.

 

Personal Objectives:

I want to use my theme to celebrate the body and sexual exploration and by using my personal style to express myself through my designs. Throughout my degree I have developed my printing skills and want use these to produce my designs to a high quality standard.

 

Deliverables:

  • Moodboards – colour, theme.
  • Research File.
  • Sketchbook showing ideas and design development  including any loose drawings or mark makings .
  • Prototypes and samples (inc selection of mounted ones)
  • Final collection of designs
  • Statement on design collection
  • Postcards and Business cards

 

Publicity Options:

  • Social Media
  • Leaflets
  • Online Publishings
  • Newspaper/magazines

Life Goals…

Cynthia Plaster Caster, what an inspiration! Starting in the 60s, Cynthia has been doing genital casts of big time celebrities such as Jimi Hendrix.

 

See her website for amazing images!


@ClubClitoris

The Vagina Illustrator Redefining Genital Beauty Standards

In a natural, un-edited state, female crotches are furry, lumpy and individual. Girls grow up fuelled by advertising and the media, told to wax, chop and conceal every flaw on their bodies or be shamed otherwise. Even into womanhood, our frames and fannies are analysed, scrutinised and objectified, and bushes remain “abnormal” while scalp-like, smooth porn star pussies prevail as status quo.

Still, kickass illustrator, Meredith White, is reevaluating beauty norms and wants to remind everyone (boys, girls, everyone included) that vaginas and vulvas come in all shapes and sizes. An arty antithesis to perceived perfection, the vulva extraordinaire illustrates female genitalia of all shapes, sizes and colours for her inclusive Instagram gang @clubclitoris.

(Illustrations: Meredith White)

Championing vulva-positivity through savvy sketches, her sassy rebellion is here to show you that, while every lady oyster is different, they’re worthy of an applause and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. We caught up with the erogenous expert on all things pussy positivity.

Konbini: Can you tell me how you came to start illustrating vulvas and vaginas in all their different varieties for @ClubClitoris?

Meredith White: My love for illustrating vaginas started as a sassy rebellion. For years, I openly rejected my anatomy, hoping for a different body (vagina included), and I knew it was time to fight back. I wanted to explore such a personal, ostracised topic and created the zine JUICES: A Vagina Celebration.

By posting the vagina illustrations on @clubclitoris, I discovered other women felt the same (what’s up, ladies!). Slowly but surely, women have started embracing their wildly different figures, and I love creating illustrations that support and emphasise that goal.

How do you feel about pop culture, advertising and porn’s very restricted view of female genitalia?

Unfortunately, our culture flourishes on female insecurity – the media promotes thin models and celebrities as beautiful instead of promoting all body types as beautiful, while pornography reinforces the scary concept that women (and their vaginas) are sexual objects.

And women constantly compare their bodies to that unrealistic “standard”. For centuries, this culture has treated the natural vagina as if it’s something to be ashamed of and abused, and biased views fuel that fire.

“Your vagina is normal, natural, and gorgeous, regardless of what the media tells you”

 

How and why would you like to redefine that?

I illustrate vaginas in their unedited form and every illustration is referenced from a real woman. Every hair, labia wrinkle, dimple, and freckle is included in my drawings (and they’re honestly the best part). Lady friend! Your vagina is normal, natural, and gorgeous, regardless of what the media tells you. You can’t keep a good vulva down!

(Illustrations: Meredith White)

Why is it so important to make sure women and girls are comfortable with their own anatomy?

Because so many women are not. The freedom to love your body without being humiliated, hating yourself, or feeling “less than” is a basic human right.

How does it make you feel that grooming, shaving and labiaplasty surgeries are all such common beautifying regimes? 

I believe women should do whatever helps them love their bodies, but shaving and labia surgery are far from necessary, ladies! What’s so wrong with hair? Male body hair is “manly” so why isn’t female body hair “feminine”?

Why does every woman grow leg, arm, facial, and pubic hair? Because it’s natural! And so are prominent labia. Society and advertising have taken naturalism from women in an attempt to sell razors, shaving cream, and surgical treatments. Companies profit off of constant insecurities, not confidence, and I say fuck that! Shout out to all the hairy babes and labia lovers, your body is damn beautiful.

You Instagrammed a private message you received with someone asking you which ‘vajina’ was yours, do you get that a lot?

Yes, it’s so goofy! These dudes perceive vaginas as sexual objects instead of a natural part of the female anatomy (and this concept isn’t anything new. It’s something that advertising and pornography have fed us for centuries). And of course, unwarranted questions about my vagina are always awkward, sorry guy!

So are you going to turn Club Clitoris into an actual club? I want to join!

I see Club Clitoris as a group of badass babes popping their bubblegum in the haters’ faces with confidence and self-love unaffected by negative social norms; badass babes who can fearlessly be themselves – body hair, stretch marks, and cellulite included – with massive support from their fellow ladies! It’s not an official club, but hopefully some day.

Check out more of Meredith White’s work and join @clubclitoris, boys and girls.

 


Sh! Womens Erotic Emporuim

Sh! is a female orientated sex shop located in Hoxton, London, it sells high class, quality sex toys and gives off a great attitude! With it’s ‘Men only allowed of accompanied by a woman’ rule, women no longer need to feel overpowered by walls laced with porn or toys that are aimed to pleasure men.

This shop relates to my collection for so many reasons, Ky, the founder of Sh! opened the store after an unsuccessful day of dildo shopping, after realising that a sexually liberated woman could go shopping to a sex store without having to go to sleazy male run stores with blacked out windows she decided in 1992 to make a change for the better.

Sh! was the first ever sex shop for women and the first boutique-style erotic shop. The fact that the shop is  subtle, boutique-like and very erotic in a non offending creates a perfect link to my collection, my erotic-chic designs featuring pastel pinks, purples and blues would fit in beautifully.

I am disappointed that I only discovered this store recently as I would have liked to send an invitation to my graduate show to the women of Sh! The invited from the school went out 2 weeks ago but I don’t see any harm in contacting now, I plan on emailing them and hopefully inviting in person when I visit the McCartney exhibition.

I would love a visit from Sh! because my collection is made up of delicately explicit motifs, which I have drawn, painted or printed myself, then used to create repeat patterns for wallpaper… Perfect for a store just like this. I understand that the use of fannys and masturbating women will be sought out by a relatively niche market (which will probably be mostly women) but can perfectly envision my  wallpaper as a feature wall, featuring shelves proudly displaying beautiful, colourful dildos and toys 🙂


The Great Wall of Vagina in London!

Today is a good day… I found out that Jamie Mccartney’s work is being exhibited in London FOR FREE! The Great Wall of Vagina is currently at famous sex shop Sh!. It’s being held there for the whole of April and I will definitely be going there to see it, not only would I love to see Mccartney’s work as it’s inspired my graduate collection so much but Sh! is a very unique sex shop which specialises in toys for women and holds sex workshops that range from flirting to spanking!

The Great Wall Of Vagina Has Come To Britain

I sometimes wonder why not all walls have vaginas plastered all over them, but such is life. The Great Wall of Vagina, the world’s only artwork featuring the casts of over 400 women in a bid to represent the variety of women’s genitals, has arrived in Britain!

Number one vulva-appreciator, British artist Jamie McCartney shipped his infamous project to London where it’ll be on display until the end of the month. To remind everyone that those seen in pornography and erotica aren’t always representative of all vaginas, anyone can drop by to see the spectacular vaj-work for free.

The eight-metre long sculpture, which features clay moulds of real women’s vulvas hit female-centric sex toy store Sh! in Hoxton on Saturday, where the artist gave a talk and signed copies of his vaj-happy book. This is a fairly exciting exhibition opportunity for vagina-owners and lovers in London to go and celebrate the female form.

Jamie McCartney's body positive wall of vulvas, The Great Wall of Vagina (Photo: Jamie McCartney)

Initially created to promote body positivity and prove to the planet that all pussies are perfect in their own way, the plaster revolutionary spent five years casting frilly foofs, large labia and asymmetric fannies. Which makes it incred that the sculpture will have its place at Sh!, an avid sex-positive, pro-female pleasure sex shop.

The store’s founder Ky Hoyle, speaks of the alarming amount of women worries about the aesthetics of their genitalia. Hoyle sad:

“We recently carried out a survey which showed that 23 percent of ladies were worried about partners judging the look of their labia. More than one in six had thought about having surgery to change the appearance of their vaginal lips.

“It’s heart-breaking that so many women view their lady parts as ugly, humiliating, or somehow “broken”. I’m determined to change that.”

For the store Hoyle hosts a super selection of products (including cooch colouring books) to please the planet’s pussies, as well as running classes on all things sex, from the A-Z of the G-spot, strap-on tutorials and masturbation lessons. So it’s quite the place to visit, even if it’s just to gawp at McCartney’s vagina wall of fame.

Artist Jamie McCartney with his work The Great Wall of Vagina (Photo: Jamie McCartney)

There’s no denying the lady garden project remains an important message for women (and people who sleep with women). Struck by the exponential rise in the surgical process labiaplasty – an operation to cut down the size of inner or outer labia – McCartney set out to let women know that vaginas are as aesthetically different as faces. The artist says:

“For many women their genital appearance is a source of anxiety and I was in a unique position to do something about that.”

So, if you fancy contributing to a less anxiety-fuelled, self-conscious world of vaginas, we reckon you should head over to see the prolific piece of art. It’d be a cunt-astrophe is you missed it.

The free exhibition is open Monday – Sunday 12-8pm until the end of April at Sh!.


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.”