Adam Van Osdol

BFA in Art & Design


We often think of intimacy as a hegemonic narrative. Touch expands our understanding of intimacy by positioning members of the queer community as the protagonists of stories of love and closeness. The custom pairs of embroidered gloves are emblematic of a participant's personal experience of intimacy, as told to the artist in intimate conversations. The stories, lovingly woven into the weave of the garment, are as heartbreaking as they are uplifting. It is my hope that this community feels a little more seen, a little less alone. Being a queer person in the pursuit of love and happiness can sometimes seem impossible, but I know that our love and acceptance burns the brightest of them all.

I was immediately taken with the vivid pink ink used in this response. I wanted to make sure I incorporated that in the glove through thread color and fabric. For the fabric, I wanted something that spoke to the words “honey” and “blush pink”. I found a tie-dyed pillowcase that was absolutely perfect. The words “cocooned” and “spreading wings” also really stood out to me, so I made sure to stitch vignettes of a cocoon, and ultimately a butterfly emerging and spreading its wings from the confinement.

I fell in love with the idea of acting as a shield for someone, being a protector, and how when we trust people, we trust them to protect the parts of us that we share with them. I collaged the sea, embrace, and words on top of each other to create one window of embroidery. For fabric, I searched for something luminescent, with a soft, seafoam like quality to it. I settled on this pearly silk blend, with blue stitching for the ocean.

A part of the narrative that stood out to me was laying at opposite ends of the bed, “soaking in each others presence”. I found pillow material for the glove fabric and embroidered not only a literal representation of two bodies at opposite ends of each other lying close but also a tub shared by two figures on the thumbs.

There were many layers to this story, coming to terms with sexual attraction, and gender identity, all the while trying to seek comfort in an increasingly harsh world. I wanted to make these gloves subtle, I used pink thread on blue soft fabric to allude to the colors of the trans flag, and the participants’ memories of summer camp. To hone in on the body dysmorphia sometimes faced when becoming intimate with someone I embroidered figures overlapping each other as if they’re each trying to figure out who is who.

What I loved about these responses was that they touched on the use of the television and internet when it came to seeing representations of love, as well as a medium to try and figure out and project your own identity. Along with the embroidered genderqueer symbol, there’s the symbol for the worldwide internet, along with hands reaching, yearning for what they see on the television set.

There was a beautiful image I wanted to capture in this writing about the participants significant other laying their head back in their lap while watching TV after sex. I included in embroidered words the participants’ sentiments about being sometimes uncomfortable with visible queer love in public spaces. For fabric, I wanted a soft fleece material for the bond they illuminated too, and a plaid for what I envisioned this couch to look like.

Reading about the electricity that comes when brushing up against someone for the first time, let alone thighs touching, was a must for me to include in these gloves. For the fabric and thread, I envisioned a night sky, as the participant wrote about a meteor shower where they experienced intimacy like they’d never known before. They also spoke frequently about sapphism, and when I researched further I found that violets symbolized this, so naturally, they also worked their way into the embroidery.