The art of cross-stitching is no longer reserved for floral patterns and butterflies. In a curious combination of erotica and a (usually) conservative medium, Brisbane-based artist Leah Emery has embroidered a series of pornographic images. The project began when Emery discovered explicit pictures that had missed the spam filters on her work computer. Imbued with mischief and a good sense of humor, Emery decided to learn how to cross-stitch while putting the images to use. In the above video, Emery discusses her content and “research”:
“[My porn scenes depict] human beings in the throes of carnality, which isn’t always attractive from the outside — it can sometimes be quite confronting and twisted and sweaty and hairy. And I really enjoy depicting those real moments. And doing the research is sitting on the computer looking through porn files on porn sites, which is a kind of funny career aspiration.”
Some of the images are hard to immediately discern — you might notice the gorgeous stitch work and colors before your eyes adjust to what they actually depict. Among masses of blurry skin and spread legs are a variety of sexual acts, from penetration, to threesomes, to voyeurism, to headstand cunnilingus. Somehow, the pixelated “censorship” makes the images more provocative, giving us a decent idea of what’s going on without the full visual satisfaction of high-definition.
Humor and eroticism aside, Emery’s artistic goal with her cross-stitch porn is to initiate conversation and sex positivity. She concludes the video with the following statement:
“It’s not the intention to shock. I just like the idea of contributing to a healthy sexual debate, which I don’t think we have a lot of in the media these days. I think we could all have a much healthier understanding and approach to topics of a sexual nature if we talk about it a little bit more.”