About the Project
On the surface, this project might seem as if it’s all about rope. But rope is just rope. Without people, rope is nothing more than inanimate strands of twisted fibre.
This project is about people.
‘Bunny’ is a colloquial term used within the bondage community to denote a person who likes to be tied. Other terms that may be used are ‘rope model’ or ‘rope bottom’, though a personal favourite of mine is ‘muse’. Those who like to tie are sometimes known as ‘riggers’ or ‘rope artists’. This project takes the concept of the ‘bunny’ and makes it manifest, presenting each of the participants as a fantastical bunny-eared, rope-adorned version of themselves – with me as their rope artist.
When volunteering, each person completed an extensive survey, sharing information about themselves. These were used as a starting point to negotiate each look. With each of the photosets, you are able to read a portion of that survey, revealing a little of who each person is behind the photos, as well as how they perceive rope bondage, in their own words. Each look is created in collaboration with the volunteer bunnies, and together we shape a shared moment that reveals an alternate, equally authentic vision of a bunny self for them, for all the world to see.
When people view the images produced for this project, I want them to be able to look past the fetish element, to see the glorious people who just happen to like rope; the wonderful people who were willing to put themselves out there and say, ‘This is who I am’. With often hand-crafted accessories, a few twists of rope and a minimalistic backdrop, fantasies are revealed and transformations undergone: from a fitter and turner to a magical unicorn; from your neighbourhood IT guy to a roaring lion.
The idea of this project is to reflect the diversity of people who are attracted to rope bondage – from those who tie and those who like to be tied, through to those who have done nothing more than admire the aesthetic qualities until now. It is to show that one cannot judge just by looking who might be attracted to rope bondage; and that everyone, regardless of who they are, may enjoy this activity that’s perceived as existing on the fringe. It is to show that there is no ‘ideal’ or ‘perfect’ person to be tied; and that there is beauty and wonder to be found in everyone. It is also to show that you never can tell what rich inner lives people might secretly lead from the way they look day to day.
Utilizing techniques from ‘traditional’ bondage and combining those gathered from humble handicrafts such as macramé, crochet and knitting, I seek to challenge preconceptions as to what rope-based bondage is and can be. Far from the scary and intimidating association bondage often has, these images are instead intended to evoke the range of emotions people sometimes feel when interacting with rope and the rope community – especially those feelings of playfulness, whimsy and joy. By including elements of fashion and craft, I seek to show that an attraction to rope bondage is as normal as wanting to knit, or having a desire to pick up a needle and thread – and that it can be something to be celebrated as an art-form, rather than shunned as a perversion. It is to show that there are more facets to rope than necessarily exist in mainstream public perception.
The ropes used in this project are my personal set – they have been well-used, well-loved, and not always particularly well cared for. They have brought me and my partner/s smiles and laughter, happiness and tears. They were the ropes I started learning shibari and kinbaku with, and they were the ropes I did my first performance with. They are special to me. It has been important to me that I share these particular ropes with others in this project, as opposed to more diverse, specialty dyed sets, because of their personal significance.
On completion of this project, these ropes will be retired – they will no longer be used for suspension or non-decorative rope bondage. In a way, this project is their last hurrah, and my fond farewell to them.
It is a lasting legacy of what a few pieces of rope can bring to those who let down their barriers and reach out to embrace something that’s just a little bit different. It’s about bringing a few inanimate strands of twisted fibre to life. And it is about the freedom to be one’s self that can sometimes be gained, paradoxically, by being bound.
Please note: All participants are over eighteen and have provided signed permission for me to utilize their images and survey responses as part of this project. The photos presented have only minimal editing to remove unnecessary background elements and to tweak colours. The only parts of a person’s photo that will be ‘corrected’ for this project are things that are not usually present, such as cuts, bruises, or dark circles under the eyes.