“Fabric addict, feminist and globetrotter” who can say that about oneself? Did you order these attributes in your Instagram profile by importance?

In actuality, if the attributes were going to be ranked by importance it would go: feminist, globe trotter and fabric addict – but seeing as it’s a professional account for textile art I figured I would lead with fabric addict. There is so much value in art, and I do have a small obsession with beautiful, patterned fabrics however my priority is feminism. For me, the old adage of ‘the personal is political’ holds true and is one of the main pillars of my work.

How do you like to travel the most?

Budget! I have always loved backpacking and camping – it connects you with people and experiences you otherwise would not have had. Some of the most incredible travel memories I have are from India in 2010, hopping trains in the night and sleeping anywhere and everywhere. The friendships I made then, 6 years ago, are still some of the most vibrant in my life.

I have to ask this one: Can hand stitching as a traditional women’s craft have a feminist message?

It can and it must. Taking a traditional women’s craft and imbuing it with feminist messages is subversive. It allows for a space where femininity and resistance can meet as one.

Where do you seek inspiration from?

I always feel the most inspired when I am stitching feminist work. Sometimes all it takes is a quick glance at a passage by bell hooks or Ivan Coyote or Dean Spade to feel inspired. I’m also often inspired by the incredible feminist work being done by various community organizations. Sometimes from documentaries, or even tweets. Riots Not Diets, Fuck Your Gender Norms and Feminist as Fuck are all odes to my years in Women’s Studies at grad school.

Is it a family tradition to work with needle and thread or how did the fabric addiction start for you?

No not at all – I don’t come from a creative family. My love of thread began in 1999 when a friend of my mother’s gave me a book of stitches as a gift. The rest is history.

Where do you live and how does your work space look like?

I live in Calgary, Canada. My workspace is a small desk that oscillates between being incredible organized and so strewn about you may never know there was a desk underneath all the thread. I have it at a main window that looks out into the hills and clouds. It makes for very peaceful stitching.

I most like your stitched fucks I have to admit 🙂 What other strategies do you have to breathe new life to the world of embroideries?

I like to surprise, offend, and force my viewers into debate or at least thought. I think the fuck resonates with many people because you have a marriage of the obscene with the delicate and beautiful. I like to think of messages that can act like a juxtaposition like that. The more crass, the better.

If you could do a large embroidery in it’s own space as an acquisition for a public museum what would you produce?

I think it would be a collection of vaginas. I think as women we are often drowned in images of what vaginas ‘should’ look like and the only representations we’re allowed to see are trimmed and landscaped. The rates of women and young girls seeking out labiaplasty speaks to our cultural obsession with women’s genitals and I would love to create a piece that calls out this trend.

This fuck and three of its friends are off today! ??

Ein von Maria Arseniuk (@femme.broidery) gepostetes Foto am

What are your favourite hand craft accounts on Instagram?

I love fellow embroiders @eradura, @threadhoney and @marigoldandmars. For printmakers I adore @richellebergen.