ABOUT

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ccunningham-woman.com

The Womanhood Collection is my favourite body of work with it's colourful and provocative imagery celebrating the female form. My abstract textiles are created from both personal and imagined experiences with strong social and moral views about freedom and expression.

My experiences of having breast cancer (aged 26 and 37) inspired me to create the cancer series, producing strong original poetry ('Carve me up' and 'Anxiety has seeped') to express (through hand embroidery) the brutality of surgery and treatments with an emotional and physical fragility of living in the aftermath. I am cancer free but have to endure agoraphobia, anxiety and panic attacks, post traumatic stress and chronic fatigue as a result of trauma. Expressing emotional turmoil through my work has indeed been therapeutic.

These events inspired me to explore female sexuality through found objects. By manipulating the existing form of pockets and sleeves I was able to produce a series of vagina's, soft sculptures with deep folds. This serves as a vehicle for expressing concerns about the exploitation of women.

The Sex Kitten series celebrates International Women's Day. I used the abusive names I was given in my youth to create bold statements. Being a 'glamour puss' incites hatred from both men and women because of their own insecurities.

I use traditional techniques (applique, patchwork and quilting) with exploratory fabric manipulation (excavation of layered and padded structure) to create soft sculptures with considerable depth. My foundation of skills has evolved naturally. I work from home with many textiles on the go at various stages, driven by inspiration and materials available. I work outside in the summer months and photograph new textiles when conditions allow.

The role of woman has become ever more demanding in our modern world where being a career woman and parent is expected, along with having a perfectly decorated house in which you are expected to cook and entertain while dressed immaculately. Despite achieving 'perfection' the Madonna/Whore concept still applies. I admire modern artists who challenge traditional views and who's work is so blatantly sexual that it provokes an angry response. My artist interviews for mrxstitch magazine (beneath the folds with Christine Cunningham) explores challenging topics. I am not sure that the conservative textile world approves of using this medium to publicly challenge the traditional role of women but I am excited by it. May we continue to thrive!