Art, watercolour, instruction, embroidery, sewing and commissions by Rebecca Toderian

My Body – My BFA Honours Project (2013-2014)

My Body – My BFA Honours Project (2013-2014)

My Body is the body of work I made in my fourth year of university. It consists of three separate pieces. The three pieces have the same subject matter – my body. During university, I experienced a lot of… problems with my body. Aches, pains, stomach issues, insomnia, etc. I became so obsessed with these ailments, that I needed to make art about it.

My Body Suit

Bexx: My Body - body suit (full)
Bexx: My Body – body suit (full)

My first piece I made was My Body Suit. I have always had an interest in medicine, and how the body works. For this project, I borrowed my big sister’s anatomy book and studied the different system in the body.

I wanted to make a life size (specific to my body) doll. On the doll, I embroidered the skeletal system, and muscular system. I did many layers, in different colors all over my body suit.

A neat detail about this project is that I did not tie off or trim any of my strings. Instead, they hang off the fabric, adding more texture. Her strings are attached to the ceiling. They are what make her have form, because she is hollow on the inside.

Another fun fact, the pants and chest actually fit on my body. When sewing, I would measure myself, sew it, and then wear it afterwards. So, it is a very personal piece. Kind of creepy, but personal.

My Shadow

Bexx: My Body - My Shadow (full)
Bexx: My Body – My Shadow (full)

For a month (at random times everyday), I recorded all of my aches, pains and discomforts I was experiencing. Anything from being itchy, to bruises, to having to pee, etc. The more I focused on these pains, the more I noticed I was having.

My Shadow is a collage of all of these diary entries.

I sandwiched together different scraps of paper, photographs, fabric, lace (honestly whatever I could get my hands on). Then I used my sewing machine to hand-write my diary on top. Next, I puzzle-pieced all of those entries into a outline of my shadow. Lastly, I sewed this monstrous shadow to a pair of my own shoes.

While working on this piece, my pain levels increased. My shadow consumed me. Working on My Shadow, was giving me the pain that inspired it in the first place. I stopped sleeping, had constant leg cramps, and other side effects. I was obsessed.

Bexx: My Body - My Shadow (detail)
Bexx: My Body – My Shadow (detail)

After graduation, My Shadow was lucky enough to go on a vacation to Montreal. It was part of the art show: Fresh Paint and New Construction at Art Mur. This was very exciting for me to have a piece of work in a gallery outside of the prairies. I am thankful for this wonderful opportunity.

My Body Tells Me No (Calendar)

Bexx: My Body - My Body Tells Me No (detail 1)
Bexx: My Body – My Body Tells Me No (detail 1)

In My Body Tells Me No, I also used my diary entries. However, instead of using the words, I wanted to visually represent the pains I was having.

I made hundreds of mini watercolors that were abstractions of my body. They all followed a legend I invented, for what different colors, shapes, lines, etc all meant.

Next, I took these watercolors and sewed them onto manila file folders. I “filed” them according to what day they happened, and what time.

Then, I pinned these files in a giant grid on the wall.

The title of this piece was inspired by Young the Giant’s song, My Body Tells Me No.

I am very proud of the work I created in my final year of university. I really poured my heart and soul into these pieces. To the point where I was causing more harm than good (to my body).

It was at this point where I was finally becoming comfortable with my own skin. I knew what I wanted to make, and did it. Even if it made no sense to anyone else.

Thank you very much for taking the time to look at my work.

Much Love!!

xoxox Bexx oxoxo