This Instagram Artist Uses Embroidery To Celebrate Breasts, Body Hair & Cellulite
Everyone has a part of their body that they haven't quite grown to love. We are bombarded with images of "perfect" Photoshopped bodies daily, and it becomes shockingly easy to see a manipulated image and feel like we fall short. But the artist Sally Hewett is giving you the tools to push back against those knee-jerk reactions with her embroidered works of art.
Her unique art centers on women's bodies and qualities often considered ugly by society, like cellulite, stretch marks, body hair, and plush bodies.
"My practice centers around ideas of beauty and ugliness, and the conventions which determine our definition of each," Hewett writes on her website. "Are some characteristics of bodies inherently beautiful, or ugly, or disgusting? Or because we see everything through the veil of culture, fashion and convention is it almost impossible for us to see bodies objectively?"
Through her art, Hewett tries to give us a new lens to look at those "imperfections." Through her art, a viewer realizes there's nothing inherently beautiful about a thigh gap, just like how there is nothing inherently ugly about cellulite. The only difference between the two is that we have been conditioned for decades with definitions for each.
"I love bodies," she writes on her website. "And it is not the conventionally beautiful bodies that take my eye. It is bodies which show their history, that have been altered by their experiences, that are decorated with bruises, scars, spots, stretch marks, freckles, pigmentation, veins. Bodies that have the marks of life on them."
That's exactly the type of bodies her work celebrates. Hewett has a series of embroidery artwork that embraces hairy upper lips, tummies with stretch marks, butt acne, pubic hair, surgery scars, and even mastectomies. Check out her art below, and see your body through a whole new perspective.
1Tummy Stretch Marks
Entitled "Baby Stretch," this piece highlights the beauty bodies after carrying to term. Seeing how almost everyone has a set of stretch marks — from carrying babies to gaining weight to experiencing growth spurts — this artwork spoke to a lot of her followers. One person wrote, "This makes me feel better."
Dubbed "Sal's Scar," this is a replica of a fan's chest after life-saving heart surgery. People commented their support, with multiple people writing, "I have the same scar," and "Thank you for producing such beautiful art work and making people feel represented."
3Hairy Upper Lips
Entitled "Frida," this piece normalizes facial hair. Rather than feeling embarrassed that you didn't have time to wax, this embroidery asks you to embrace and own the natural hairs on your body.
Whenever you see commercials that depict skin conditions, the actors are often depicted as mortally embarrassed and miserable over their conditions. This piece normalizes those conditions (psoriasis, specifically,) and challenges people to view their skin conditions through a more positive filter. And it's working. One follower wrote, "Thank you for representing this autoimmune disorder that has effected my family so deeply. I love it so much."
Hewett also pays homage to all the people that had to have mastectomies in order to fight cancer, a life experience that is near to her heart. Her own grandmother had her breast removed as a result of cancer. Instead of being sad about the scar, she thanked the doctor for his superb stitching job and was proud of her battle wound. Hewett's mastectomy pieces portray that same kind of pride.
From normalizing body hair to making people love their blemishes, spots, and scars, it's amazing how art has the power to change minds. And for the better.