London-based artist Eliza Bennett explores the stereotype of easy, ‘feminine’ work in this painstaking embroidery project
‘Women’s work’ – a phrase that makes us cringe. Embroidery is one of the art forms that can be preconceived as a faction of ‘women’s duties’, believed to be feminine, traditional and light – ugh. In a new series called “A Woman’s Work is Never Done”, artist Eliza Bennett is using her own hand as a canvas to embroider on, to challenge the societal norms of what can be wrongfully seen as an easy, ‘female’ job.
Using a sewing needle and coloured thread, Bennett embroiders on her palms to create the illusion of callouses. In the video of her project, you can see her in action, if you're physically able to look (some of us aren’t, ouch).
She told Creative Boom about her first experience of the embroidering technique in school: "I was totally amazed to find that I could pass a needle under the top layers of skin without any pain, only a mild discomfort. As with many childhood whims it passed and I hadn't thought any more about it, until quite recently when I decided to apply the process to my hand to make it appear calloused and work-worn like that of a manual labourer.”
“Some viewers consider the piece to be a feminist protest, for me it's about human value,” she explained. “After all, there are many men employed in caring, catering, cleaning etc...all jobs traditionally considered to be ‘women's work’. Such work is invisible in the larger society, with ‘A Woman's Work’ I aim to represent it.”
H/T Creative Boom