first off, happy belated valentine's day y'all! i meant to post this on valentines day, but that weekend was pretty frazzled for me (see my winter olympics post) i actually have valentines to post as well, but they're not quite done yet.... i know, i'm late! i changed directions part way through them, and the end result is much more time intensive. i hope they'll be worth the wait for the folks who'll receive them!
but anyway, back to my dream lover(s) list! i've actually been planning this piece for quite a while, but it wasn't until the submission deadline for an art show loomed close that i actually got my butt in gear.
this is my "artist's statement" for the piece -
Dream Lover(s) Body Pillow
materials: synthetic fabric, rayon thread, invisible zipper, polyfil
40” tall x 15” wide x 9” deep
technique: machine embroidery digitized based on the artist’s own handwriting
aside from physical characteristics, we all have ideas of what our ideal lover(s) is like. we carry a list in our heads, adding entries based on relationships that ended badly (never dating anyone who votes for THAT party again!), editing or removing entries that are no longer necessary, adding entries that reflect how our lives change as time goes by (must have good dis/ability politics now that i’m chronically ill), adding entries as we see patterns in past relationships (no more “putting up with” my gender, i want someone who appreciates it!).
as in the rest of life, rules are made to be broken, but our internal lists serve as a guide, a reminder of great possibilities. they also serve as reminder of negative possibilities, when we’re distracted by a particularly dapper boy and might be tempted to ignore past lessons learned!
i don't know about you, but i've had my list in my head for years now. one day i randomly decided to write it down, and started thinking about how different lines have changed over the years. i had this body pillow that needed a pillow case, and i started thinking how perfect it would be to make the body pillow actually relate to what i'd like in a partner/lover/sweetie/whatever. (does anyone else remember those boyfriend pillows that came out a few years ago?) i contemplated just embroidering the updated list, but i thought that the changes and edits were just as important as the list entries themselves, so i included all of the original list. there are actually a few newer entries that i ran out of room for, like must be poly or open, and crafty (and confident about it).
the base fabric is black ultrasuede, so it's soft but sturdy, and it'll be easy to remove cat hair from (important in my house!). i boxed the corners of the pillow case, and i'm really happy with how that gave the pillow a more distinct shape. i used a black invisible zipper along the bottom seam so that it's removable for cleaning, but doesn't have any sharp or hard pieces like a regular zipper.
so! the list itself!
- black eyeliner (& body mods) while this might seem like a physical characteristic, i kinda see it as an expression of attitude, self expression, etc, and that's why it's on the list
- not in high school (not applicable!) this one is obviously no longer important, cause i'm not into people that young, but when i was 17, it was definitely relevant!
- has a car/takes transit (independent) basically, they need to be independent, hence the added note. this was on the list after dating too many people who didn't drive OR take transit, and i was really freaking tired of always being the one to travel!
- gives great massages (maybe not. kinda creepy?) this has actually been on the list for soooo long, and i always thought it would be so awesome to date someone who gave good massages, but now that i actually go to massage therapy once or twice every week as a form of medical treatment, i think it might be kinda creepy to also get massages from someone who i'm involved with. i don't know, it's just a thought. remember that friends episode where phoebe can't massage monica anymore because mon won't stop making sex noises? yeah.
- not vanilla. i'll leave this one alone, cause my mom reads my blog.... ;) but basically, i'm pretty flexible as long as someone isn't TOTALLY vanilla...
- gives backwards hugs (without prompting) because if you have to ask, it doesn't mean as much (see prev entry too!) i'm a huge sucker for backwards hugs. even some of my favourite pictures of me and friends are ones where they're giving me a backwards hug
- likes cats (!!!) always important, but even more so after i dated a dog lover and decided that the dog/cat distinction was a pretty good gauge of character! i just get along with cat people better ;)
- good dis/ability politics pretty self explanatory, i think. if you use ableist language, i'm sure as hell not gonna sleep with you! and yes, "lame" is totally abelist, whether you wanna admit it or not.
- id's as queer (if they're queer) the note on this one kinda felt like a no brainer, obv someone who id's as straight wouldn't id as queer! but the entry itself is super important to me. i consider queer to be a political identity as well as a sexual identity and a possible gender identity, and it's really important to me that someone who i'm with has at least similar politics. because frankly, i have very little respect for people who don't care about the world around them, and i wouldn't want to be with them.
- appreciates (and understands) femme other queer femmes will totally back me on this, it sucks to be with someone who tolerates your gender. and sadly, it happens way too fucking often
- good gender politics this one kinda relates to the list entry above, but it also relates to the person themselves, that they have good personal gender politics, in that they've consciously thought about their own gender, and it relates to the people around them, in that transphobia and genderqueerphobia are total turn offs!
- no kids (OR good parent/person separation) um, i spelt separation wrong, didn't i? shit! oops. back to the point itself, it's pretty self explanatory. i don't think it's healthy for you or for your child if your entire life revolves around them.
i think this piece took almost as long to digitize as it did to stitch, or at least it felt like it! i wrote out the list on paper with a sharpie, then scanned it, then separated out each line, edited the letters to sharpen edges so that they'd digitize well, created pdfs for some reason, turned them back into jpegs, separated them into even smaller files, because they had to be less than 4"x4", blah, blah, blah, then used PE Design Lite to digitize them.
i lost track of how many times it had to be rehooped, but it was A LOT. i used a larger hoop and for a few places just had to slide it along. but every line had a minimum of 3 files to embroider in red, some had 4. and then there were the second layer of white lines, the "notes" on the list. and then i did all of the dashes and arrows individually after the fact, because i decided they needed to be there!