embroidery middle finger

The case for sweary textile art (in 6 points)

If you’re a fan of Kraken Kreations you’ll know that I make sweary textile art. I first started swearing on brooches, then pieces like these balloons and finally embroidery hoops. You customers love it but I still get the odd question about why I include expletives in my work at all. Thing is, telling people that I love to swear never seems to be explanation enough. So here’s my case for sweary textile art:

Everything I make reflects real women

That includes those of us who holler, “SHITTING FUCKING BUGGER!” when we stub a toe or whisper, “Bastard!” to ourselves when someone pushes into a post office queue. And if you know anything about Kraken Kreations it’s that everything I do is about reflecting real women. That includes swearing. It’s not because I’m trying to be controversial (if I really wanted to be I’d dress as Hitler in my vlogs) but because I’m arse-tired of seeing women being sold what we should want rather than what we DO want.

And OK, I understand why high street stores don’t display cushions that read, “I’ve tried to stop swearing but I cunt” on them.  No one wants to explain that to a curious six year old. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a mahoosive pool of women who’d love to own such a cushion though. So I, along with many other independent makers, cater to that pool. After all, there’s enough home décor and accessories out there for women who don’t like expletives. What about those of us who do? WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF US? *collapses with distress onto a chaise longue*

My customers love sweary textile art

In fact, my first sweary embroidery hoop wasn’t dreamed up by me but was commissioned by a customer. She wanted it to say, “Charlie, Uniform, November, Tango” and stitching it made me hop with merriment. Since then I’ve had one commission after another from customers desperate for sweary hoops for themselves, friends and families. In fact, it’s the boggling inventiveness of you customers that’s one of the joys of sweary textile art.

Weirdly, though, I’ve come across a few people who think that I stitch sweariness onto hoops which then gather dust because I’m massively misrepresenting my customer demographic. They couldn’t be more wrong. I can’t stitch my sweary textile art quickly enough and my brain is now a never-ending stream of gawp-worthy phrases. See, THIS is why I love you. Without you I’d never have heard the term “Whale oil beef hooked.”

I swear and I am Kraken Kreations

And I refuse to believe that I’m the only woman who’ll cackle at swear words. When I started Kraken Kreations I figured that if I was desperate for bright colours then other women would be too. I then applied the same logic to my sweariness.

Fact is that I love the creativity, impact and power of swearing. Some people claim that swearing implies a lack of intelligence but one study after another has proven otherwise: that swearing can display a mastery of language and grasp of nuance. And, no that doesn’t mean peppering sentences with random ‘fucks’ as you stagger along a towpath with your fifth can of Tenants Extra. That means using a well-placed, say, ‘fuck’ to create impact, humour, meaning and strength.  In fact, the most perfectly-used swear word can transform how you communicate. Think of the difference between “I really love you,” and “I really fucking love you!”? Seriously, swear words are gems that make sentences pop.

Sweary textile art shows that we mean business

Think about how women have been told to be polite for millennia. Well, how has that worked out for us? We still suffer from a mahoosive pay gap, don’t have the same career choices, carry the lion’s share of the domestic load, are disbelieved when we are raped and expected to treat marriage as the ultimate goal. In short, politeness has gotten us nowhere.

Then think about women securing us the right to vote. The Suffragettes certainly weren’t polite. They subverted every expectation of women in the early 20th Century and it was the smashing of social expectations that got them noticed. Do you think they’d have made such headway had they politely requested emancipation over afternoon tea rather than screamed for it while chained to railings? Of course not. They’d have been patted on their pretty heads and sent on their way.

My point is that if chucking about the odd ‘fuck’ means making the world sit up and listen then chuck it about we should.

Swearing is funny

Check out the film Withnail and I, for a start. Who could ever forget Withnail saying to his uncle, “Monty, you terrible cunt!” or watching him nurse a hangover with, “I feel like a pig shat in my head,”. And what about The Thick of It’s Malcolm Tucker shouting, “Come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off!” or growling “Your only problem was a fucking shit pun in a newspaper and a face like Dot Cotton licking piss of a nettle!”? There’s a reason why these quotes stick in our heads and it’s because they make us holler with laughter.

The same goes for sweary textile art. It doesn’t have to be earnestly artistic. It can equally be a piece that makes you snigger every time you walk into a room. After all, what’s the point of a piece of art if it doesn’t fulfil you in some way? And who’s to say the sweary parts of our brains don’t need to be fulfilled in the same way as those parts of us that love beauty, colour or order? This is exactly why I’ll bark with laughter every time I see my mug that reads, “They say you are what you eat but I don’t remember eating a fucking legend”. It actively brightens my day.  And would it have the same effect if the ‘F’ word wasn’t used? Nope. Not a chance. That one word makes it waaaaay funnier.

It’s sexist to think women shouldn’t swear

At Kraken Kreations everything I do is about equality for women. There certainly isn’t equality in expectations surrounding swearing, though. It’s 2018 but STILL it’s more socially unacceptable for women to swear than men. To believe that we women shouldn’t swear is to believe that we shouldn’t display the same range of communication as men. In fact it’s to either assume that we never feel the same depth of grief, rage or sadness or that, if we do, we should politely keep it to ourselves.

Look at Ellen Bullock. In 1877 she was admitted to the Powick Asylum partly for using obscene language. Her behaviour improved in the asylum but when she was discharged back to her home and husband she’d revert to her ‘obscene’ ways. She’d then be locked up again and discharged again until her husband declared the marriage over, upon which, free of said husband, she never displayed such behaviour again. Well, believing that women should never swear is the thin end of Ellen Bullock’s wedge. It’s casting those of us who do as unacceptable rather than rational humans communicating our true feelings.

In short, we need to grow up, see women as fully rounded humans and understand that we might want the word ‘tit’ on our living room walls. And that’s why my sweary textile art is going nowhere except right into your homes. If you want your sweary self to be truly represented look no fucking further than Kraken Kreations.

So what do you think about this issue? Do you enjoy swearing for does it horrify you? And what do you think about it being used in my textile art? Let me know in the comments below.