One of the people I've long followed on the Internet is Ariel Meadow Stallings. She has been exploring in new directions and recently released a collaborative work, a limited print art book/sex memoir paired with custom jewelry, Pros Before Bros
. One of the coolest things about this project is how she worked with a lot of local woman-owned small-businesses to produce a gorgeous book, the kind of book you want to touch just to have that tactile experience. It's her motivations
(which you can read in full in that link but I'll include a couple snippits) for taking on the project that really enamor me to the work and want it to be a success.
if I'm going to invest some money in trying new things, I can make sure that the money I'm spending is going towards supporting other local women doing cool shit.
I want to explore wearing pieces of stories on your body, where they move against you and don't let you forget.
I want to explore stories that are printed in formats that are so beautiful that you want them sitting out, staring at you. I want stories that because a piece of your home. I want stories that are objects that invite conversation, to breed more stories.
There are certain products that most folks keep hidden — sex toys, drugs and medication (both legal and illegal), dirty laundry, dirty books. Hell, I did an event earlier this year where we talked about the stigmatization of romance novels… not many people leave their bodice-rippers out![...]
Separate from the products, there are also the topics that are usually kept hidden… Deep emotional pain, grief, dark sex, addictions, mental illness. We stick all our shames and confusions into hidden places[...]I want to try to bring some of those stigmatized things out of the dark. I want to write a book about grief and therapy and sex work and other topics
yeah, the topic is sex. Specifically, sex work [...]vulnerable stories about about the intersection between sex and personal growth are my absolutely favorite kind of story! I wish more people told these stories, and I get that they're somewhat stigmatized… so I guess I'll go first?
It's a dirty story. It's a pretty book! Aww, it's cute jewelry that converts into a sex toy! But the story is ultimately about deeper topics of feminism, power, identity, therapy, emotional healing, self-reflection, surrender, midlife self-reflection, and coming to peace with your complexities.
Come for the dirty story and sparkly jewelry, stay for the existential contemplations.