In this collection, I have used these symbolically significant flowers and phrases referencing the experience of the LGBTQ+ community in prints on paper and cotton patches.
Many terms involving flowers were used to describe gay men historically, such as “horticultural lad” and “evening botanist,” but pansy became prominent due to the association with gay men’s flamboyant, colorful dress. “The Pansy Craze” was a term used to describe the increase in popularity of queer-friendly bars in large cities during the 1920’s, when prohibition forced people to be more accepting in order to get illegal drinks.
Green carnations were claimed by the notably gay 19th century writer Oscar Wilde, who asked his friends to wear them on their lapels to the opening of one of his plays in 1892. By association, it became a symbol of male homosexual attraction.
Lavender first emerged as a queer symbol in the 1920’s, when feminine men were labeled to have a “streak of lavender” or as “lavender boys.” The phrase “lavender menace” was used by lesbian feminists who wanted to integrate their struggles into the women’s rights movement in the 1970’s.
The use of violets as a queer symbol originates from the Greek poet Sappho, who was known to write poetry about love between women, where she often used violets in conjunction with lesbian stories.
The designs in this collection include:
"Homo Sweet Homo"
"Lavender Menace" cotton patch