Series 1 celebrates vulva diversity using made from scratch pies. Or rather, this is one facet of Series 1. When I started, I wasn’t really sure what I was celebrating. What I had was a compulsion to create realistic figure sculptures of the vulva with pie crust.
Being acutely aware of all the double entendres and double edge swords of being a woman wielding genitals as my subject, I think this all overwhelmed me quickly. I started my project from my cis-gender female point of view of wanting to depict realistic vulvas on pies and my thoughts and views expanded with the project.
Where I found diverse vulvas for my subjects
My first problem was where to find real vulvas that were detailed enough to sculpt. A lot of times, artists will use models or photos they have taken for a resource. It’s best practice to use your own resources to avoid violating copyright laws. However, I didn’t know where to begin with this sensitive subject and I was eager to get a start on the work.
So I did the next best thing. I searched for copyright free images and found an endless supply of images at Wikimedia Commons! If you’ve never used it, it’s an invaluable resource for artists. There was a panel posted there from the Gynodiversity that was just a beautiful display of diverse bodies and their vulvas.
From those two resources and other Google searches on “real vulvas” I fell into depths of body image issues, body acceptance, vulva diversity, and labiaplasty. It was overwhelming, and I knew I could address so many things at once. I focused in on the pie metaphor and the body diversity.
When I began my vulva art, I didn’t know there were other people making vulva art. There are a huge amount of artisans and fine artists focusing on the vulva as a subject for their art making too! Apparently, I had been living under a rock! Then again, middle aged women in America don’t make a practice of talking about our genitals and rocking genital art, at least not any I know. Now I know what a tragedy that is.
Even in market places, like Etsy, there are pages upon pages on vulva artists. They sometimes prefer yoni artist or vagina artist, but they are all focused on making genital art about the vulva. It was unreal that I had been missing out on this entire community of artists even though I thought I was well versed in women’s art and women’s issues.
It was also so heartwarming to be welcomed by so many other artists when I started posting. I have never felt so loved or understood as an artist in my life- well, other than when telling a room full of first graders we were going to do clay in art class- that’s a whole unreal level of enthusiasm!
What I learned while making the first 12 vulva pies
In short, I learned I knew shamefully little about vulvas, my own or others. I did not know that there were so many ways a vulva could look. 12 pies what NOT going to be enough!
73% of women don’t know what a vulva is and almost half have felt embarrassed by the appearance of their vulva. Afterall, we mostly see the small labia and very tidy to no pubic hair in the entertainment industry.
Labia can be up to 3.75 inches (9.5 cm) long, with the average length being 1.69 inches (4.3cm.) The labia majora can be up to 8 inches (18cm) long. The average clitoris is .27″ (7mm) and then that just covers the visible part- now we know that is just the tip!
The color varies from dark grey to light pink. Sometimes all on the same vulva. The mons pubis also changes throughout life depending on hormones, weight and other life conditions.
SO KNOW THIS: Your vulva is totally normal in appearance unless it’s causing you physical pain or discomfort!
Anatomy does not determine gender
I also want to say this here, even though I didn’t learn this while doing my art: Genitals do not determine gender. This is a concept that has been really hard for many to grasp, but it really doesn’t have to be.
A person will tell you their gender if you ask, and you should accept it. There is no reason for you to question them or doubt them. It’s not any of your business what it looks like between their legs unless they invite you to see.