“Vaginal Knitting” As Activist Performance Art

casey Jenkins vaginal knitting

casey Jenkins vaginal knitting

Melbourne based artist Casey Jenkins is a self-described “craftivist” who founded Craft Cartel, an organization that seeks to combine crafting and political activism, in 2007. “Craft imbues you with power because you’re forced to contemplate the issue you’re addressing. It’s very reflective in a sense of when you put that message out into the world, people know you must really care because you’ve devoted that much time to it,” Jenkins says.

Jenkins’ most recent performance project, “Casting Off My Womb” (Aussie TV calls it “Vaginal Knitting”) involves the artist spending 28 days (the average length of a menstrual cycle) knitting from a new skein of wool that she has placed inside of her vagina each day. Jenkins explains that her performance would not be a performance if she didn’t include menstruation. While she is menstruating, Jenkins says it becomes more difficult to knit because the wool is wet, and she has to tug on the thread a bit harder. Overall, though, she claims the process is slightly uncomfortable, but can also be arousing at times. For Jenkins, she enjoys that her performance associates the vulva – something that can be found offensive or vulgar or invoke a level of fear – with the comfort and warmth that knitting provides and evokes.

“The fact that [cunt's] considered the most offensive word in the English language is a real marker of the time that we’re living and of the society’s attitude towards woman. There’s nothing possibly negative about it. It’s just a deep, warm and delightful part of the female anatomy.”

As Gawker notes, this performance is reminiscent of other feminist performance pieces like Yoko Ono’s “Cut Piece,” Carolee Schneeman’s “Internal Scroll,” or even Mary Kelly’s pre- and post-partum documents, so Jenkins is not necessarily a trailblazer in the context of this aesthetic; however, that fact that pieces like this still shock and provoke viewers means that there is still much work to be done in the movement to empower women and destigmatize female anatomy. (via gawker and broadsheet)

casey Jenkins vaginal knitting

casey Jenkins vaginal knitting

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  • Grimm Tale

    Uuugh….but, it’s NOT from her “womb”…..it’s not even close in proximity. It’s simply “UP THERE” and has NOT entered her so called “womb”! GAWD, what people will do for attention! Yeah, yeah, I understand it’s performance art, and attention is the goal, but to say it’s from the womb when clearly it’s as far up as a tampon, what’s the point? There is no “birthing” of the yarn so to speak. Gawd!

  • rebeccagavin

    Truly an awful, and pointless exercise. Yawn.

  • lanz

    shove a ball of wool up my ass and knit outta there. If I’m shitting and knitting it rhymes and thats arty in my world.

  • CH1EF_QUEEF

    I’d really like to hear from someone who feels “shocked and provoked” by this. “Interior Scroll” happened 40 years ago. This is a silly, gimmicky nonsense.

  • kana

    eww wtf? seriously? what’s the point of this?

  • HannahRisk

    Apologies to her but would wear a hat or a scarf that had come out of some ladies vag, I mean you dont know how often someone cleans, you could be attacked by seagulls thinking it was fish.

  • gvanderleun

    Gives new meaning to “goozy quim.”

  • gvanderleun

    The point is she’s a slut with no talent struggling to get some vague shred of attention.

  • emily milano

    why is everyone so quick to dis her? if she feels empowered by this act, then let’s praise her for doing so! it brings her feelings of beauty and creation, and that’s all that truly matters.

  • Riv

    That’s…kind of gross. Especially on her period? It’s basically like she’s just sticking a tampon up there and then pulling it out to make a scarf.

  • Pete

    No, the fact that it’s mind bogglingly retarded is what matters.