THE HIDDEN HISTORIES OF WOMEN; researching, reflecting and responding to our Grandmothers histories.
Women’s stories make up just 0.5 percent of recorded history. From great medieval queens, to writers, scientists, or even our Grandmothers who have quietly shaped our way of life today, the role of women throughout history has often been overlooked. Until the 20th century, a woman’s role was primarily as a home maker and mother, and to support their husband’s public lives. Their lives are often hidden despite the reality of their roles being a vital part of a functioning society.
Grandmothers have woven their life-skills and experience into the fabric of their family relationships through generations of women, creating a sense of security and belonging. I am exploring the threads of these connections using textiles, a medium with a unique history closely intertwined with domestic, social, cultural and political values as much as yarn and thread.
I respond to the whispers of these lives and the fragments of information we have about these women, and interpret them visually by creating miniature vessels that reference both the female form and reflect the scale of significance of these women’s lives that history has allowed.
My own Grandmother, born in 1899, taught me a whole range of sewing and embroidery techniques, as well as how to knit, crochet and tatting. She was a patient and kind woman who, living nearby, was happy to share the craft skills her life demanded. My sister and I sat with her learning different crafts and listening to her stories of growing up in the suburbs of north London. Like many women of her generation, her husband was affected by his experience in the First World War and she became the strength within the household.
I used my own memories to decide on the form, colour and decoration of the vessel. Since this first vessel I have spoken to lots of women about their grandmothers and created a series of miniature vessels referencing their different characteristics. This group of vessels continues to grow and will be exhibited as part of Textures of Emotions: Storytelling and Textiles, a Progressive Connections conference held in Athens, Greece in July 2022.
Would you like to share your memories of your Grandmother(s)?
What kind of person was your Grandmother ? What adventures did she have as a young woman? Did she have an interesting job or has her focus been on family? What were her pastimes?
Share your memories with me and I will make a vessel in celebration of your Grandmother.
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