Hullo! I’m Curegreed, and every third Friday of the month I’m supposed to be telling you all about what goes on at the degree in The Royal School of Needlework. However I’m on my holidays now, so from here until September the posts’ll be varied and (hopefully) interesting. Here goes nothing!
When I was sixteen, I started reading Kurt Vonnegut. Religiously. As anybody who has read Breakfast of Champions will well know, Vonnegut triumphs in his illustrations. His most famous? His ‘asterisk’ – an arsehole. Or asshole, if we’re going to use his terminology.
This has been tattooed on the bodies of many of Vonnegut’s fans. His asshole is to Vonnegut fans as a crucifix is to catholics. It is the cult symbol of Vonnegut, understood by those who adore- misinterpreted by many. It mocks high end literature, as anyone who has read a Vonnegut book will well know you can get as much intelligent thought out of his books, easy to read as they are, than out of such classics as Paradise Lost or (dare I say it) the bible.
And so, as a Vonnegut fan – perusing the world, or in this instance, The Phat Quarter flickr pool, certain symbols pop out to you. And not because they are ridiculous, or bad, or disgusting, but because they are arseholes.
This was the first I saw, and it opened my eyes to a whole new world- the world of accidentally embroidered arseholes. Beautifully stitched buttonholes, that to me, appear, as unavoidable Vonnegut’s asterisk, to be an anus.
This piece was by fatquarter, and it is *so* beautiful. Look at all those stunning bullion knots! Little puckered wrinkles, in fantastic colours. What a celebration of such a vital piece of anatomy!
Now onto Shisha mirrors by Karen Cattoire! I love the idea of an arsehole reflecting the world. And the sequins! Whilst I’m aware Karen probably wasn’t expecting her piece to be viewed in this way- I feel that arseholes really ought to be decorated like this. Where would we be without them?
Lastly we have a whole cluster of them by maximum RABBIT designs.
I love these. I’m quite a fan of simple embroidery- just a few colours in simple stitches on a fairly open weave. These are most reminiscient of Vonnegut’s asterisk – basic but effective.
All of the examples of arseholes in this post are exquisite in their own right, be they arseholes or not. I wanted to do this post to explain to people that reading embroidery, or indeed any visual art, in your own way is OK. The creator may have made it for one reason or another, but if you get more out of embroidered arseholes, than you do out of buttonholes- then honey, you enjoy it for being an arsehole. Too often in embroidery, in craft, we pussy-foot around, worried about offending people. You like something because it reminds you of something? Tell the maker. I *love* to hear the diverse reactions people have to make work. It’s what makes doing it so exciting.
For further reading on Vonnegut’s asterisk, I refer you to this website: http://vonnegutsasterisk.blogspot.com/
Scroll to the bottom, you can see many artist’s elaborately drawn self portraits of their arseholes.
If you want to see my other work then my personal blog is a pretty good place to start: My Little Stitches
If you want to know more, please get in touch! You can email me at: prettyguns.rosa[at]gmail.com
Disclaimer: Curegreed’s view do not necessarily represent those of the Royal School of Needlework, and she’s not pretending they do. Okay?