Synchronous Hermaphrodites is an series of embroideries inspired by my research into the symbolism of the unicorn.
The unicorn has is an age old creature that has undergone many transformations. Originally described as a huge ferocious beast by Cstesias (c.500BC) the unicorn was then ‘tamed’ by the church and presented as a meek creature symbolic of fertility and rebirth. These works draw upon these themes as well as traditions within folk art with which the symbolic unicorn has often been associated with.
The series is comprised of seven panels much like the famous Flemish unicorn tapestries of old (currently housed in the Metropolitan Museum, New York). Each panel represents a colour of the light spectrum from red through to violet. The unicorn is regularly pictured alongside rainbows. At first glance this may appear to be a twee association but the rainbow was once recognised as a bridge between worlds and was used by the Greek goddess Iris to travel into the underworld. The unicorn is a symbol of rebirth and this reference to the rainbow in this series represents the creatures ability to pass between the worlds of the living and the underworld of the dead.
Each piece is hand embroidered with cotton threads onto black linen fabric. The individual embroideries took approximately 50-60 hours to complete by hand and measure approximately 67 x 58cm (framed).