Thrilled to be one of this years participants.
I was drawn to a previous posting of the first RAISING OF THE SKIRT (in 2014) months ago and was compelled to Google further. I found a website and read and listened with tears in my eyes and on my cheeks to some of the Odes to our beloved Cunts. They resonated deeply. Once again I realised that despite plenty of personal growth work already, I still owed my precious vagina so much more.
So when a “Call For Participants” popped onto my radar I sat bolt upright and started typing. I sent in my CV and cover letter the artist Nicola Canavan, introducing myself and my story…. I was chosen. I was delighted and I felt vitalized.
(Taken from my initial Cover Letter to Nicola…)
It saddens me to say that I hated my Yoni for years. I blamed her for being useless, for hurting all the time, for ruining my relationships. Despite feeling pain and discomfort whilst making love and for days after I wanted to please my previous partners in bed. I believed this was simply because I loved them but more subconsciously it was because I was afraid to ‘lose’ them. Then, after over 20 years of gynaecological issues, and all the ‘head crap’ that goes with it, I was cured!! Well, almost, lol. The medical profession can only take healing so far, the rest has to come from within. This was in 2001.
The true healing of my heart, mind and yoni began in 2007 when I left a huge chunk of my previous life behind and spent an entire year shacked up in my studio, single and loving it! I documented my inward journeying in a variety of media. I explored old fears and patterned behaviours, new ideas, people, places and opportunities. I began consciously “Healing My Temple Door”.
But how do you discipline yourself into opening and surrendering to love when you are hurt, afraid, or angry? I began to practice. Slowly I began to love my body again. I read some fantastic books. I delved deeply into death and the archetypal psyche of truly wild and witchy women. I discovered ‘me’ again and so much more.
So, whilst in the sanctuary of my studio, after over two decades of frustration, fear and failed relationships I felt ‘fixed’ enough to be confident and powerful about my budding and belated sexuality! I boldly decided to make my exciting journey public. It took a lot of courage to ‘come out’ with regard to my sexual history and private mental tortures. So many of us suffer as a result of poor sexual health, trauma and the pressures of conforming to a skewed and outdated socio-cultural model of what it is to be an ‘acceptable’ woman’. I wanted to reach out, seek and include others who have experienced similar; women (and men) who actively want to heal heart, mind and yoni, to dissolve the collective female ‘pain-body’.
I have always been a ‘pusher of boundaries’ and have done some extraordinary things in my lifetime. I love my life. I have been a beacon for many women. I still however struggle with deep-seated low self-esteem issues despite outwardly being incredibly confident and fearless.
Now I am in a solid, sexual and spiritual relationship. I am still encouraged to be all that I can be. I still feel the need to know and work on myself from time to time, especially since I have recently started the MENOPAUSE!
Now I face a new challenge. I have searched for a suitable vehicle to take me on this deeper journey of personal growth but struggle to find ‘non fluffy’ events, workshops or like minded women that can facilitate them. Then I found this event. I can’t explain my excitement. Is this the vehicle for me? Whatever the decision, I will continue on my path and continue to grow. I am simply happy that these events exist, and that transgressive female artists and other exceptional and empowered women are no longer burned at the stake for breaking out of our patriarchal constraints.
Thank you so much for your gifts and of the ‘Raising the Skirts’ dear Nicola. Viva Vaginas!! Lol.
Alison Brierley. (8th May 2015)
1. A ‘gentle’ introduction to my taxidermy work, lol. “The Story of the Testicle Earrings!” –
2. “KALI’S PANTS – AKA – NICE BEAVER” – SHAMANIC SHAKTI BEAVER MERKIN – https://alisonbrierley.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/kalis-pants-aka-nice-beaver-shamanic-shakti-beaver-merkin-yoni-art/
3. “HERNE’S HORN” – This was debuted at a festival, as are many of my performance pieces… it explored the masculine nature of women. It was a piece in response to ‘Kali’s Pants’ (Beaver Merkin) which explored and exaggerated the darker feminine aspects of the female psyche, Vagina Dentata and Kali. The horn is rhino and symbolises the lengths we have to go to be regarded as an equal… ie: grow our own cock! lol.
4. “THE ‘HAREY’ PURSE” – SHAMANIC ROADKILL FERTILITY FETISH OBJECT – Made from a hares head and various found and recycled objects.
5. SHEELA-NA-GIGS – Ancient fertility paintings and lino cuttings using placenta blood. https://alisonbrierley.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/sheela-na-gig-placental-blood-lino-printing-fertlity-art/
6. “Healing The Temple Door” – A Journey of Self Realisation and The Return of “Libido” – A POEM! (WARNING – EXPLICIT)
7. “My MASSIVE Vagina” aka “My Purring Pussy” aka “Festive Fadge” aka “The Temple Door” – A few years ago a giant vulva that graced a red tent opening. My intention was to create a safe healing area/ re-birthing womb space for women to discuss issues around vaginas, heart and sex. It debuted however a ‘hobbit’ size honey moon suite for some dear friends at their Hand Fasting. It was also used in the evening to ‘collar’ a few blokes we thought were total ‘cunts’ for a bit of Gurning… It hangs on the dining room wall at the moment. It was decorated in tinsel at Christmas and now has a loud purring and meowing mechanism installed. Last week it was used for a Beltane ritual at a Rent Tent gathering.
8. “POLARITY” – Cernunnos and The Bringer Of Light to Dark Places – AKA – The Horned Lord and the Witch. FERTILITY ART
9. PLACENTA PABULUM – ART & COOKERY & COMMISSIONS – “Even before I became pregnant, I knew that I would do something special with it”. https://alisonbrierley.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/preoccupied-with-placentas-10-experimental-adventures-making-beautiful-things-from-placenta-placenta-art-cookery/
10. “MENOPAUSE” – Crow Woman – “I grow my black wings and scream in silence, stand back or I may tear out your soft throat with my teeth and paint my lips with your hot red blood”. This is my latest work, drawn just last week. Two poems accompany her but they are yet to be tweaked. I am in the process of collecting menstrual blood using a moon cup to paint the finsihed portrait.