Teri Claude
Queer Celebrity Tattoos
Embroidered Cloth
A series of 12 embroideries
8 1/2 x 11 inches each
Installation view
(l-r) Roberts (background), Claude [ Rorschach (corner wall), Tatoos (center wall), On The Road (right wall) ]. Drag Dollars (not seen in this view)
Teri Claude

My current work is primarily embroidery. In these pieces I use traditional hand-work techniques to re-make and highlight aspects of queer culture.

1. On the Road. (2008). 10 in. x 10 in. Embroidered Cloth.

Recreates a note mentioned in Jack Kerouak’s “On the Road”. Kerouak writes of being propositioned by a young man in a plaid suit in a bathroom in rural Kansas. The note is passed through a bathroom glory hole.

2. Queer Celebrity Tattoos. (2006). 8 1/2 in. x 11 in. Embroidered Cloth.

A series of 12 embroideries which look like notebook pages with pencil sketches of tattoos on them. Each page shows the tattoos of a celebrity dyke or tranny.

The image submitted shows an embroidered image of a tattoo which belonged to Portia de Rossi. It was a ring tattoo which incorporated the initials of her former girlfriend Francesca Gregorini. She had the tattoo removed when she became Ellen Degeneres' partner.

3. Rorschach Case Studies VII: “my goodness, why are you showing me this? I can’t make out anything” . (2008). 12 in. x 12 in.

The Rorschach test is the classic ink blot test developed in the 1920’s as a psychological diagnostic tool. The abstract shapes were presented to patients, and their responses were thought to reveal their subconscious thoughts and desires. The ink blot test is currently thought to be too subjective and projective to work as a diagnostic, but throughout the 1940’s and 50’s the test was used to help diagnose a number of conditions, notably homosexuality. A group testing approach was even developed for use by the military in WWII to detect men who were unfit for service.

By the 1950’s papers were published which collected responses to the ink blots which were thought to indicate homosexuality. These signs came to be known as “Wheeler Signs of Homosexuality”. These “signs” focused mainly on gay men. Reading through case histories from the 40’s and 50’s, you find few references to lesbianism, but this seems partly due to the fact that lesbianism was considered a more curable state. Women were diagnosed as having gender-role confusion, or immature ideas about sex. Men on the other hand were thought to sink quickly into depravity if their homosexual impulses were followed.

This series of embroideries are based on several of the original Rorschach ink blots. The titles reflect responses, based on reading case studies from the 1940’s and 50’s which would have categorized a woman as homosexual, or at least confused about her proper gender role in society.

4. Drag Dollars. (2001 – 2009). An ongoing series of embroidered dollar bills where George Washington is transformed into a drag queen.

5. Rorschach Case Studies VI: “ an ornately carved bedpost, a completely useless object” (2008).
12 in. x 12 in.

Drag Dollars (2001 – 2009)
Embroidered Dollar Bills (detail)

Rorschach Case Studies VII: “my goodness, why are you showing me this? I can’t make out anything.” (2008)
Embroidered Cloth
12 x 12 inches (detail)