Imogen Gray

Degree Show 2023

Imogen Gray

BA Art and Design

Muscle Up Buttercup encompasses an exploration of femininity within female boxing as a contemporary representation of strength and resilience in collaboration with the female boxers of Leeds. The project has moved through multiple stages from the analysation of flowers and what they represent in relation to women, crafting in the form of crochet, and its historical link to female, wartime, social groups known as ‘Stitch’N’Bitch’, and finally women in boxing. The key concepts within my work stem from reappropriating sexist floral depictions within art, not just to convey the undercurrent of gender discrimination that continues to permeate throughout society but also celebrate and cast a light on the power in being a woman today, inspired by Annette Scott’s ‘Floral Femininity’, exploring the meaning of flowers as a feminist revaluation of their association to women. By hand crocheting natural floral forms and repositioning them as symbols of female empowerment in the guise of sparring uniforms, I was able to give life to the characters ‘Stitch Bitch’ and ‘Happy Hooker’.

The method of crocheting was inspired by my experience of being taught to knit by the women in my family as a child. This represented my personal experience of how women hold strength in their connections between each other which have been present in the history of women and crafting.

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Pre-match poster graphics for ‘Muscle Up Buttercup’ boxing match, ‘Stitch Bitch’ vs ‘Happy Hooker’.

Post-match photography series of ‘Stitch Bitch’ and ‘Happy Hooker’ wearing hand crocheted sparring uniforms and gloves.

Post-match photography series of ‘Happy Hooker’ wearing hand crocheted sparring uniforms and gloves.

Hand crocheted boxing gloves in situ.

Full display of ‘Muscle Up Buttercup’ including hand crocheted boxing ring, sparring uniforms and gloves accompanied by photography series documenting the fight and post-match.