Tuesday, 5 March 2013

I think it's time for a spot of Thanks.

I posted this image of Life 4 - "Hello Dear, What Did You Do Today" some while back.  It marked a big step forward in my work, and is the first attempt I'd made to put my own words onto one of my quilts.

Obviously putting  life models onto a quilt causes some reactions. Some people love them, and some hate them.  I'm aware that they can be challenging. Magazines have asked to do interviews about my work, but haven't wanted to publish pictures, Pinterest have the quilt image below widely splashed across their boards, and I've read deeply unpleasant and unkind remarks about it, but I've also read some very supportive and kind comments too.

All this had led me to moan a bit now and then.  In September the wonderful Laura and Linda Kemshall got in touch with me and asked me to do a video interview with them about my quilts for their stonking DMTV programmes.  I was delighted to be given a voice, and they produced two wonderful episodes.  I was thrilled and honoured and I felt it marked a turning point in my quilts' acceptance.

Also, this month, after interviewing me in October at the "Through Our Hands"  (www.throughourhands.co.uk) exhibition in Leamington Spa, the Quilters Guild have published an article about my work.  This also marks a huge step forward and puts art quilting - and life studies - to the fore.  It may cause a negative reaction too I suppose but I hope not. So a huge thank you to them to for being open minded and forward thinking.

Then just as all is going well, yesterday, 4 or 5 kind souls wrote to me to say that the images of this quilt had been removed from Pinterest.  They have a no nudity policy, but this is for photos I think, and art work is exempt, but not mine it appears!  Probably it's the result of a complaint. Can I just also say a thank you to the authors, and for all the others who have written to offer support.  All the comments are here but the relevant ones about Pinterest, I've copied out below:

Wow, I just got a notice from Pinterest that my pin of this work had been removed. At first I thought it was because you preferred not to have it up there, which I fully understand. But, no, it was taken down because the image involved nudity! I sent Pinterest a blistering e-mail, telling them it was a quilt and not a human body, and if they were going to ban it then they should also be banning a significant number of famous paintings throughout the centuries. Somehow I would be surprised if I hear back and even more surprised it they put it back up there! Heh, keep up the good work, it's getting somebody's attention. :-)
Pinterest have a bit in their terms and conditions that state No Nudity. It's obviously difficult to enforce and what I think has probably happened is that someone has complained and they've removed the image. It happens all the time. Some of the comments I've had from people who pin on pinterest have been truly wonderful, but some have been dreadful. I gave up worrying about it long ago as you simply can't please everyone all the time. Thank you for your support and going to all the trouble to write - it's appreciated - but I think, like you, that it will go unheeded. Sorry I couldn't reply directly to you but you didn't leave an email address.
Pinterest also removed my pin of this quilt too! I say we flood them with questions! I love how they are protecting us from the form of an old woman when where are so many, many other body images that I am certain will remain up. I was a bit nicer in my response to them:


I got a notice from you (Pinterest) today that you removed one of my art quilt pins.

Your email said:
"The pin was called "PAINTED QUILTS: Life 4 - Hello Dear, What Did You Do Today? - Read the text that's quilted into the woman's body." and it was on your board Quilts. "

Your policy says:
"Our no nudity policy applies to photographic images. It does not apply to illustrations, paintings, sculptures, etc. We do not allow nude photographic images that contain visible nipples, genitalia, and/or exposed buttocks."

This was an art quilt of an old woman sitting at her sewing machine. It was not a photographic image. I believe it falls into the "etc" category of what your policy does not apply to.

I don't see how the quilt could be considered a photographic image. Unless you are counting that it was a picture of a quilt. Which seems a wee bit legalistic.

Could you please advise?

Thank you


  1. Seems an uneducated, narrow minded minority have won out again. I hope the emails that have been sent to Pinterest make them reconsider. These are amazing works of art and should be treated as such. Who would prevent us from seeing a Botticelli or a Michelangelo? There's no difference in my opinion. I'm just pleased that you have grown so much and can shrug off such ridiculousness- if that's a word. I am really looking forward to seeing your new work at FOQ.

  2. Just read your Facebook page about the removal of your quilts from Pinterest. Not a member myself, don't think I join now, unless it is to protest. Don't let the buggers grind you down!

  3. at first, I thought - this could be me at my sewing machine - and then I remembered, I sew barefoot...

  4. Just keep making the quilts! We have seen much worse on the news, TV and etc. I doubt young boys will be getting their jollies laughing over your quilts. You have stuff to say and you say it well.

  5. Such narrow minds! I follow your blog religiously and admire the work you do with a woman's image - it's timeless. If I thought I could even come close to your portraits, I would try a nude. I will follow my style while admiring yours tremendously - you do amazing work and I for one LOVE it!

  6. How could this offend anyone? I think your work is wonderful and creative and truly artistic. Onwards and upwards.

  7. perhaps it was so good they thought it a photo? just took the complaintant's (sp?) word for it?

    Just had time to read the quilter today. The article was very positive. If they publish any negative comments, you will at least have had a chance to get people thinking.
    Sandy in Bracknell

  8. I just Love your quilt.....mostly because the charming women looks just like me in the raw...Keep up the wonderful work.

  9. I just love your work. I especially like the aged nude woman who looks just like me in the raw. Keep doing your wonderful work.....Those who are offended or don't like it......that is their problem, not yours......I hooked a rug with a nude woman and 5 cats..amazing how many people just cannot look at it.....Happy Quilting!!

  10. Your work is inspiring. I enjoy your process and the end result. Our quilts tell a story as do each stretch mark, sag and wrinkle..don't stop...the "tasteful nude" has been in art for years. Its a bit like breastfeeding in public (Like I am) if it offends the viewer, then don't look, move on!
    L Newton NZ

  11. More power to you, dear ladies. I understand that Pinterest have changed their mind and reinstated the images on your boards. They have decided that I make art not porn which is a bit of a relief. I'm so amazed that anyone felt strongly enough about these quilts, to take all the time and effort needed to write to Pinterest and complain. I can only say another thank you. People who know me well, know that I have reservations about pinterest - copyright issues - but such support gives a very happy glow, so thank you again xx

  12. Your work is just amazing! I hope to tackle something like this not too far in the future, and maybe I'll be brave enough to do a self portrait as the subject. I am glad I found this through sewfestivehandmade!

    I was going to pin some stuff but apparently the whole nudity thing... :| so sad.

  13. I too received a message from Pinterest and I was totally confused as to why they took it down. Have they never been to a museum...how about that statue of David? IHow about postings of women's butt in a thong or just tonight a picture of Marilyn Monroe in a see-through shirt? I guess it's okay if the woman has no wrinkles. Confusing

  14. Thank you Anonymous and Ali, It's ok to pin now if you want to as Pinterest agree the quilt is art and not porn. They have reinstated the pins to those that have complained but not to everyone else. The onus seems to be on the pinner! Thank you for your comments - lovely to hear your comments and views.

  15. Sanity prevails!

    What ever any idiot says, your 'Life' series is completely stunning. It's not just the imagery, it's the thought and reference to the pieces behind the imagery. Keep on sewing and painting - and I'll keep on tweeting for you.