The Hunt for the Unicorn

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).

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

A number of the works have QR codes stitched into the designs which link to active content hosted at

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.

The following images are from the Digi-Mediated Culture Symposium & Exhibition hosted by Swansea College of Art.