August 25, 2011 § 1 Comment
In order to further develop and refine the rationale behind my work I visited the Women’s Library to complete some research. I was particularly excited to have access to the 50’s and 60’s issues of Women’s Own and The Woman magazine.
All the information available to me was rather overwhelming – I had to keep asking myself the question ‘what is important to my work?’ and ‘why’? I aimed to refine my artist statement after the visit in order to create a clear concept.
Sure enough the magazines included a huge range of ‘do it yourself’ and instructional knitting, crochet and embroidery. I thought that the language used to describe these pieces was particularly interesting. Some quotes taken from the 1956 additions:
“Wonderful 8 page pull out booklet – gay colourful summer knitting”
“Daisy gay tea cloth to embroider for the garden”
“A lacy gay blouse – charming to wear with your gay summer skirts”
There’s something so intrinsically feminine about these words. It reminded me of an introduction I had read in one of the tatting magazines I have. “After the the first world war all things Victoiran, good, bad or indifferent were lumped together and classified as ‘stuffy’. As a result many fine needlework was forgotten, until a few years ago women began to rediscover what might be called the more feminine handicrafts.” I feel there is a hesitant sense here around the work ‘feminine handicrafts’ – “what might be called”. I enjoy that uncomfortable tension – like it’s a dirty word.
Other concepts that came out of my visit include:
- The emergence of domestic textile machines (textile technology) appearing for the mass market
“Gone are the days of laborious hand knitting” Women’s Own, 1956 August 30th
This created a clear discrepency in the magazines of the adverts and content – whereby they included articles on how to complete your lovely summer knitting juxtaposted with adverts telling you knitting is a laborious task.
- Sewing as identity – both positive and negative aspects
- Shifts in reasons for sewing