Knitted contraceptive and body part props © Jessica Dance

Using knitted props to talk about bodies and contraception

How do you convey the too frequently overlooked — yet vital — message on sexual healthcare and contraceptive choice in a new and engaging way? This is often the question posed when exploring creative ideas to engage our audiences with information on sex, health, and choice.

We like to talk about sex and healthcare; we are experts after all with 67 years of experience delivering care globally. The importance of sexual health and credible information are crucial and too often neglected, confusing or presented in a dull way. Through the provision of information on healthcare, relationships, contraception, and consent we want people to engage in safe and fulfilling intimate relationships.

So back to the question — what can we do to make these important issues that impact everyone fun and informative?

Looking for a new approach to creative digital content, we commissioned textile and interior designer Jessica Dance to design and make a series of nine knitted contraceptive and body part props. Jessica’s work has featured in Vogue, Stylist, the BBC, GQ, Tatler, and Harpers.

Having initially seen Jessica’s work in an edition of Stylist magazine featuring knitted food and condiments, we were keen to explore an opportunity to work with this incredible creative designer. The IPPF commission was her first piece of work focusing on contraception and body parts.

The brief was to create five individual contraceptive pieces and four body parts. Using bold and natural colours a series of bespoke knitted props were handmade and photographed against complimentary backgrounds. This fun and creative medium has enabled us to convey our message around the importance of understanding parts of the body, like the vagina and uterus. Going beyond the basic knowledge of anatomy can be the first step towards taking care of our own sexual health and wellbeing.

It has been great collaborating with Jessica and having the opportunity to support a brilliantly talented female artist. The serendipitous moment came when she found out that her mother worked for IPPF in 1974!

So, why not get to know the (knitted) vulva and uterus in order to lead a healthier, safer, and more pleasurable life. Take our vulva and uterus quiz to test your knowledge!

Laura Feeney, Content Gathering Adviser, IPPF

Around the world, International Planned Parenthood Federation provides healthcare & protects people's health and lives from sexual and reproductive coercion.