RachCreates with... Thomas Woodhouse

Hey! I’m super excited to introduce a new section in my website where I chat to fellow artists and gain some insight into why they do what they do. Those who know me know that I love talking, and I love bigging up other artists and sharing their work too!

My first interview is with my good friend and fellow vulva artist Thomas Woodhouse - with whom I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over lockdown, and a day rarely goes by without a chinwag. A woodcarver by day and elusive wood nymph by night, his signature vulva sculptures captivate and resonate with a massive audience and I’ve put a few questions to him to get to know why.

Please can you introduce yourself and give us quick snippet of your ethos:

I'm Thomas Woodhouse and my main medium is wood carving. My focus for awhile has been on feminism and vulva art; I feel my use of a traditional medium helps bring these topics to a new audience and present them in a unique light.

Where did it all begin?

I've always liked to express myself creatively but carving wood vulvas began a few years ago with a suggestion from my partner at the time, and the realisation over time that it made a powerful statement to so many people.

How did you develop your skill set?

Largely by trial and error. I don't take instruction very well, and like to find my own way so I've mostly practiced a lot and read a little. The only aspect of my work I've had formal training in is the sourcing of my materials; I received training in ecology, forestry and timber processing at agricultural college.

What does intersectional feminism mean to you and your work?

It has a large and defining role in my work. It's one of the causes I want to further and it is my main inspiration alongside sustainability and my own spiritual beliefs. Also, my motivation and confidence to create has been greatly amplified by the sense of community I've found within intersectional feminism; I no longer feel like an outsider since taking part.

Does identifying as he/him provide any hurdles in the way that you create or promote your work?

Honestly no! I feel very humbled by the acceptance I've found doing what I do, and I feel my participation in feminist art as a man is beneficial in many ways. You might think it would be a rare field in which men are disadvantaged but it has never felt that way. I have faced some skepticism but it has been too rare to present any real barrier.

What is your favourite thing about what you do?

I think it's the sweet things people say; I have people send me messages out of the blue saying how happy seeing my art made them or how much it changed their perspective. Knowing my art has meaning to so many people gives me butterflies and at the moment that's my favourite thing.

What would you like to achieve with your sculptures?

More of what I'm achieving now; to keep taking the message carried by my art to more and more people and keep developing myself as an artist. To keep promoting diversity and making great art.

Please head over to Tom’s Etsy and check out his store; I’m a proud owner of a couple of his pieces and I particularly love my spalted beech pendant necklace! They are super affordable, unique and absolutely bloody gorgeous. There is absolutely NO denying the pure craftsmanship and divine beauty of his vulva sculptures and mine lives lovingly alongside my crystals and joins me when I read tarot.

Please leave a comment and share this post, and of course if you’d like to be featured then send me a message!

Ta so much for reading!

Lotsa love, Rach x

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