Archive for March, 2011

IWD Post #2 : Shackles in Silk?

March 8, 2011

So, at the Carnival Conference, I presented a talk and a stitch workshop. The talk was based in how Mary Wollstonecraft described embroidery as “the silken fetters that keep women in chains” and how I disagreed with this point of view. I wanted to illustrate the power that could be found in sewing circles or in quilting bees, so I laid out a large woollen blanket and thick woollen threads and got the participants to sit around it and stitch whatever they fancied on the blanket. The point was to get them all to talk to one another, share experiences and the like, that sewing was to become secondary: a reason why we’re all together but then make bonds of our own.

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It was the first time I’ve ever done anything like this, and I think it went really well. I got positive feedback and I definitely want to do it again. It was a really nice space to have in the conference, away from the academia and just a focus on us.

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The varying things that people did were really interesting. From words, to simple pictures, cobwebs, french knots, one participant even stitched the outline of her hand.

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The blanket was later exhibited at a party that night. The fantastic ‘Lashings of Ginger Beer‘, a radical feminist queer burlesque troupe, used the blanket as a makeshift changing room throughout their set. Pretty proud of myself!

IWD Post #1 : Can feminist art change the world?

March 8, 2011

Here are a few things I saw whilst at York University’s Centre for Women’s Studies’ ‘Carnival of feminist cultural activism‘ :

knickerbunting

Julia Triston‘s Knicker Bunting

potentiamagazine

The Potentia Magazine team

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Catherine Redfern and Kristin Aune, authors of Reclaiming the F Word: The New Feminist Movement and Gail from The Feminist Library

billsavage

Bill Savage and the backdrop for the karaoke video of Le Tigre’s Keep on Livin’

paperwomen

Paper Women

dolly

Dolly, the festival Pinata

chubster

Charlotte ‘The Beefer’ Cooper, head of The Chubster gang, teaching wannabe chubsters how to spit at the BMI chart.

I had a brilliant, brilliant time. I will blog later about how my own workshop went. Happy International Women’s Day!

Oh and yes, I do believe that feminist art can indeed change the world.