From print to wool: Vesalius and the ‘knit your own womb’ movement

King, Helen (2023). From print to wool: Vesalius and the ‘knit your own womb’ movement. In: Représenter le sexe féminin [Uncovering the Female Sexual Anatomy] (Cazes, Hélène ed.), University of Victoria Libraries Press, Victoria, British Columbia, (In Press).



This paper considers contemporary approaches to representing the female sexual organs in such media as wool and fabric, and their relationship to the detailed, fully-labelled, two-dimensional images in sixteenth-century medical texts, in particular to those of Vesalius. I shall consider what it means to move the body into the public domain through such media, and how the skills of the crafter and the materials used are brought into play. Among the modern versions of the female body which I shall compare to Vesalius are online knitting patterns for the uterus and two small groups in the UK: the Shoreditch Women’s Institute and its vulva quilt and the Whitstable Profanity Embroidery Group.

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