The Profanity Embroidery Group – Whitstable

What and who the fuck are we?

Kathy Burke said we were like a Punk version of the WI, which is in many ways a bloody good place to start. 

We are the Profanity Embroidery Group, and we do exactly as it says on the tin – we embroider profanities. Some people think we are besmirching the gentle art of needlecraft with our puerile potty mouths – we know this ‘cos they like to tell us so.

For all those that dislike what we do, there are many more who love it for its stress relieving properties.  Both stitching and swearing have been proven to be good for us, with the additional benefit that those who use foul language are seen to be more honest!

Created by accident and totally without a plan by co-founders Annie Taylor and Wendy Robinson, the group is made up of 30 regular members, and meets every other week in the pub.

The catalyst for the group’s formation was a cartoon by Rina Piccolo, depicting a genteel older woman delicately embroidering Fuck the World on her flowery cushions.  At our initial meeting on 5th August 2014, the creative spark was aided by considerable amounts of gin, and the Quilt of Profanity was the result.

At this point members consisted mostly of novice embroiderers, but experienced swearers. Fortunately the balance was soon redressed by the arrival of some novice swearers, who were experienced embroiderers, and eager to improve their vocabulary.

Before the next meeting, a plethora of profanities were gathered, and then typed up and placed in a hat.  The plan being that a profanity was plucked, and then stitched and illustrated on a ten inch square of fabric. Following instruction is not a big feature within PEG – never has been, never will be.

Profanities were taken out of the hat, read, replaced and swapped until the would-be artist was happy (enough) rendering the hat business totally pointless; and when the time came to assemble the quilt, none of the bloody embroideries were square, and it was the weirdest selection of ten inches ever seen. But who gives a fuck?

In the years since, we have made exhibitions of ourselves, collaborated with other artists, taken part in the Whitstable Biennale (proper arty art art don’t ya fucking know), Margate Now! and POW Festivals, run workshops and still found time to get some shit done for charity. We’ve even been on the bloody telly and we’ve the sullied the hallowed halls of the BBC to appear on Woman’s Hour. A slightly odd experience to chat about profanity embroidery without swearing, but we did it, with only one little quimbecile sneaking out under the radar. 

We’ve collectively stitched our way through over 1,446,480 hours, stabbed ourselves with needles almost as many times, sewn our work to our clothes, lost work, found it again, fed it to the dog…

We’ve (responsibly) drunk our way though at least 54,750 gins and/or pints (lets just not mention the crisp quota) and helped each other through the shit life throws at us. Not bad for a daft idea based on a cartoon: we really are the dog’s bollocks and fucking modest to boot.  We have the best conversations with complete strangers that you could ever wish for, and spread more than a little fucking happiness. Here’s to continuing to stitch, swear and drink together in our beloved Duke of Cumberland pub in Whitstable, and having a bloody good laugh. Cheers!

Annie Taylor & Wendy Robinson 2020 

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Swear of the month

Cunt Burp

“I honestly don’t know why you bother, all this shitting swearing and laughing bollocks, it’s beyond me.”

– Grumpy old Minge, Faversham

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