Development Diary: What is Crafting a SacRed Yoni?

Kirrilee Heartman shares the story behind her Sydney Fringe Festival workshop, Crafting a SacRed Yoni. The event is taking place at Marrickville Town Hall on Saturday 17 September at 11am and 2pm. Tickets can be found here.

Crafting a SacRed Yoni is a fun, powerful, hands-on workshop where women design and create a Yoni to take home. 

The idea was conceived a few years back when I wanted to make a gift for (co-presenter) Yia that honoured her work with women: as a counsellor and ceremonial choreographer, she has been witness to many of the seasons and events of women’s lives. Indeed I first became close to Yia when she supported me through the loss of my third son halfway through the pregnancy.

The gift I made was as meaningful to me as it came to be for her – it was inspired by Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, the ceramic and mixed media art installation that featured ceramic dinner plates made into Yonis representing significant women of history. As a young twenty-something radical lesbian feminist, I’d relished the discovery of 1970’s feminist art, and in particular how The Dinner Party subverted the humble dinner plate into something edgy and reimagined.

Emily Dickinson plate from The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago. Courtesy of brooklynmuseum.org

Emily Dickinson plate from The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago. Courtesy of brooklynmuseum.org

As a late thirty-something mother of four, I channelled my passion for fibre arts and traditional sewing techniques into a yoni for Yia, framed by the traditional embroidery hoop. She loved it, and months later we developed a workshop around the embroidery hoop yoni, relishing the chance to transform recycled and up-cycled materials that we source from Op Shops into Yonis!

We’ve held the workshop a few times now, both in Sydney and at the Seven Sisters Festival in Melbourne. Women of all ages come: maidens, mothers, crones, and they delight in the chance to get crafty, they cackle as the embroidery hoop is subverted into a frame for a Yoni, and they love transforming a necklace into a clitbit for their Yoni.

The workshop is creative and fun, but it can also open up deep places that may be tender. For some women, their Yoni may be associated with shame or pain or other difficult emotions. Yia is on hand to hold space for anything that arises, but the feedback we receive from this workshop has amazed us: tales of deep healing and transformation, of deeper connection between mother and daughter, and of pride in Yonis now hanging in prominent places in homes all over Australia!

Looking forward to another opportunity to gather and Craft a SacRed Yoni in Sydney on the 17th September!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/craftingyonis/
Blog: http://sacredyoni.wordpress.com

This workshop is open to any who identify as woman.