Please note that the images below are NSFW: they contain strong language and images of a sexual nature.

This series of embroideries are the culmination of my research into the symbolism and representation of the unicorn.

The unicorn is an age old symbol of masculinity and fertility and medieval tales of the unicorn tells us that the creature can only be captured by luring it out with a young virgin.

With that in mind I posted an advert in the ‘Personals’ section of a popular listings website, on behalf of an imaginary sixteen year old virgin girl in the hope of ensnaring a unicorn for myself. I didn’t find a unicorn but instead I received numerous responses from some other horny beasts.

The content of the embroideries pictured on this page is extracted directly from the responses received to this advert (including any number of spelling or grammatical errors).

Unicorn Dating #1 Cross Stitch Embroidery by Spike Dennis

Contemporary Embroidery created using Internet Sources
NSFW Contemporary and Subversive Cross Stitch

The project began in October 2013 and having received in excess of fifty responses in the first six hours of having posted the advert this project is ongoing as each piece takes between 50 and 250 hours to complete.

The designs of the embroideries here are based upon old European samplers. The fonts that I have used were transposed from an eighteenth Century English sampler and can be downloaded to use for your own projects from my blog here.

The icons and symbols incorporated into the embroideries relate directly to the content and concepts underpinning this work and are a combination of symbols obtained from old sources, such as the German Renaissance pattern book ‘Schon Renes Modelbuch’ by Johan Sibmacher, as well as new patterns that I have created myself with more contemporary references including the logos for Trojan condoms and popular dating site match.com.

A number of the works have QR codes stitched into the designs which link to active content hosted at www.unicorn-dating.com.

This includes videos and animated embroideries as well as interactive content such as an opportunity to adopt a unicorn as well as to sign up for Unicorn Dating and create your own dating profile;

*Whether you are looking for a meaningful relationship with a unicorn or simply want to test out your rhythm method, we’re sure to have something for you“.

The works have been completed using combinations of cross stitch and black work style embroidery with cotton thread on a linen ground.


(NB – the QR codes in the embroideries pictured on this page have been Photoshop’d so that they do not work. Access can only be gained through the physical presence of, and interaction with the work.)

Names/initials have been changed in the creation of these works.

Unicorn Dating - Alex | by Spike Dennis subversive stitch cross

Artist Catfishes guys to create contemporary embroidered artwork

An embroidered sampler created using cross stitch on linen

Exhibition installation at The Sho Gallery

Unicorn Dating #3 | Spike Dennis contemporary embroidery

Cross Stitched image of a man holding a banana next to his penis

A red work embroidered sampler using QR codes

Unicorn Dating #4 | Spike Dennis Cross Stitch Sampler Contemporary

NSFW Exhibition Installation Image


Year: 2013 to (ongoing)