My vulva and I go way back. No, further. I can’t remember life without her (I imagine my vulva as a lady, shout out to vulvas of all occupations and titles!) We’ve been best friends before I knew what best friends were. She’s stood by me through sad times, good times, scary times, all the times. When I was about four or six, I used to angle one of our bathroom mirrors to take a peek after I peed. I still remember what it looked like… my how she has grown!
Over the years, some really awful things happened to her. Some people did not treat her right. Some people talked about her behind her back. Some people thought she should shave, thought she shouldn’t shave, thought she smelled, thought she shouldn’t smell. There was even a time I thought I had wrecked her from playing with her too much because the sex ed diagrams looked nothing like her. Thank you Betty Dodson for your beautiful illustrations in Sex for One: I found her validated in your pages.
I also felt that I hadn’t always made the best decisions for her. That sometimes I asked her to take on more than was fair to ask of her. I wanted to say I’m sorry and I love you and I thank you for everything you bring to my life. I wanted to express how honoured I am to have her with me. Despite my strong feelings toward her, it is easy to forget where she is and what she looks like. To see her is to seek her. I wanted her to know she is worthy of being sought. That she matters. That I care for her.
Pictures were too… flat. I didn’t feel that a depiction of the physical components of her structure really communicated the nuances of her beauty. She is so much more than shapes and skin and fleshy bits!
Sculpting is just not a skill I posses.
Abstract drawings were pretty okay. Much closer to that… something.
Then I took the placenta print making workshop and I thought, yes! THIS is the vulva art project I’ve been looking for!
The placenta print making workshop was run by my doula instructor and mentor Beth Murch. It was so simple! Take some food colouring, mix it with water, paint your placenta, press the paper to the placenta, boom! Behold a bold and colourful tree of life! (Please note: though it is simple, I discourage you from trying this without taking the workshop FIRST. There are some very real and very important health and safety precautions that need to be considered before doing arts and crafts with human organs).
Food colouring is much like watercolours. It’s delicate and bold. Abstract and exact. Every print I made showed a different side to her. Every print I made depicted a different feeling I had for her. The hardest part of vulva print making is stopping. The mystery of what each print would reveal urged me to keep going.
I now have twelve of those print originals framed and hanging on the wall. I look at them every day. They inspire me.
They remind me of what I’m capable of creating.
They remind me of where I come from.
They remind me of the work I came here to do.
The first print at the top of the page is titled: “The River”
The second print from the top is titled: “Little Universe”
The third print from the top is titled: “Kiss”
The fourth print from the top is titled: “Whispering Ghosts”
The vulva print used in the making of the poster and featured in the first blog post is titled: “The Tulip”