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Anna Taylor’s hoop dreams 

Embroidery, buttons, ceramics—artist Anna Taylor does it all with an important focus on feminism and the rights of sex workers.

click to enlarge Taylor’s stunning work is feminist-oriented. - SARA CONNORS
  • Taylor’s stunning work is feminist-oriented.
  • Sara Connors

Anna Taylor's needle work is making waves in Halifax, but be warned—this isn't your grandma's embroidery.

The 33-year-old NSCAD grad, crafter and sex work activist makes radical feminist-oriented hoop art, banners, buttons and ceramics.

Taylor's naturally dyed hoop art, Taylor Made Embroidery, has especially gained popularity due to their edgy phrases, such as "Sex work is work," "Slut" and "Not sorry." Her pieces are sold in a handful of stores in Halifax and across Ontario.

Much of Taylor's work focuses on often-ignored sex workers and their stories, especially in the wake of Bill-C36 which came into effect in 2014. The Bill has drawn criticism from advocates who argue it puts sex workers at more risk of danger, as they have to conduct their business unsafely.

The Bill "is not a thing that makes it to the news very often. As an artist I struggle a lot with how is it my right to voice these stories," she says. "The reason that I want to do it so much is that I'm not hearing these stories make it to my feminist discourse, I'm not seeing that representation."

Taylor's completed a residency in Iceland, exhibited work in Norway and completed her second residency in Dawson last month. Her latest residency in Dawson reflected Canada's unique relationship with sex workers and their presence in the founding of the Canadian landscape.

"Dawson City is a really unique space because it's very hard to get to so [sex workers] had to travel these incredible distances to get there," she says. "There was a lot of perception of them as being accepted and maybe even having a vital role in that society. The women were really, really tough and their stories are pretty incredible."

Though it takes Taylor hours to complete just one small hoop, she says the process—and the attention she's able to draw to the stories—is worth it.

"These stories deserve the time and effort in the labour involved," she says. Sex workers "are an important part of our history and deserve the softness that the thread allows to tell the stories."

click to enlarge arts.hoppdreams2.png

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