Gin and dusters in Whitstable

The current collaboration with the Whitstable based Profanity Embroidery Group (PEG) is proving a big success! Each day the postman knocks on my front door with more squishy parcels full of embroidered dusters, emblazoned with a good selection of swears! I’m carefully logging each submission to record who has stitched them, and then ironing them (oh the irony!) ready to hang. You can follow the progress on Instagram @domestic dusters and @pegwhistable

The dusters will be on display in the Twelve Taps Gin Bar in Whitstable from the 15th – 19th February. Opening times on the poster below. So if you fancy a giggle at some subversive stitching (and you aren’t easily offended!), accompanied by a good gin, please pop along. PEG are also exhibiting on the theme of domesticity just down the road at the Fishslab Gallery, from the 15th to the 20th February.

The call to submit is open to all, so if you can stitch fast there is til time to join in – please get in touch for postage details and submit your own swears on the theme of women and domesticity. Deadline to reach me is end of January.

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Swear it on a duster!

I’m excited to announce a new one-off collaboration with PEG, the Profanity Embroidery Group, who delight in subverting embroidery’s ‘nice’ image by embroidering swear words in beautiful stitch. Their wonderful tongue in cheek approach pokes fun at expectations of ‘proper’ behaviour, particularly in relation to women and girls.

This is your opportunity to use your thread to make the air blue and your mother wince by stitching your favourite swear words and general frustration with domesticity onto a yellow duster! This is an open call and and unique opportunity to collaborate with PEG.

All of the dusters submitted to this call will be displayed in the wonderful Twelve Taps Gin Bar in Whitstable, Kent on the 14th February 2023, which coincides with PEGs own domesticity themed exhibition just down the road. The Gin Bar have also agreed to let the dusters hang for the foreseeable future after the open night so that gin drinkers can continue to appreciate the sweary frustrations expressed in stitch.

Usual rules apply – stitch by hand please and red thread is dominant but feel free to branch out too. The best dusters to stitch onto are the thicker ones from Sainsbury’s (purple packet, not value).

Deadline for final submissions to reach me by post is 30th January 2023.

Please get in touch once you’ve completed your duster and I’ll reply with address details for postage.

In Annie Taylor’s words, who co-founded PEG: “let’s stitch the sh*t out of this!”

Duster by PEG member Emily Turner

Partnership with British Craft Council

We’re so proud to be partnering with the British Craft Council ‘Make! Craft! Live!’ to offer an online talk and workshop exploring the Women and Domesticity – What’s your Perspective? duster project and supporting you to begin stitching your own duster. The event is part of their Craft Council at 50 series, which is well worth checking out as they have lots of brilliant events.

I’m looking forward to sharing the inspiration for this project and as well as some of the stories that accompany the many duster submissions. The session will conclude with workshop-style prompts to support the development of your own duster, which you’re invited to submit to the collection.

Time: 7-8.30pm GMT
Date: Thursday 29th September 2022
Book: Here
(Tickets by donation if you are able to, which as usual will go to Women’s Aid)

The Academic Duster

Over the past couple of months the dusters have been busy accompanying me to several academic events, exploring their power as social catalysts and communicators on the theme of women and domesticity. This has included the Really Sayin’ Something’ symposium at the University of Brighton (20th May 2022), which was part of the Structures of Community event programme. I reflected upon the role of stitch as a tool for socially engaged and participatory practice-based research, exploring how it enables innovative collaboration and dialogue. The dusters were also hung in the Brighton CCA gallery for the duration of the event.

Just down the road at the Phoenix Gallery in Brighton, I presented the dusters at the University of Brighton Centre for Arts & Wellbeing celebration event. The dusters were displayed on clothes airers and I took the opportunity to give out ready-made duster packs to those who were keen to participate in the project. It was on the same day as the Really Sayin’ Something’ Conference, so I spoke at one, then nipped down the road to speak at the other!

In June, also presented the dusters at the Everyday Creativity conference at the University of Brighton’s Falmer campus, as part of a symposium exploring creative research methods. I took the opportunity to focus on the role of the duster to entice creative research practices through its ‘thing power’ and our cultural knowledge of its purpose.

DUSTERS JOIN THE BRIGHTON FRINGE!

I’m excited to announce that dusters from the ever growing touring collection will be on display during the Celebration of Arts & Wellbeing that is part of Brighton Fringe 2022.

The University of Brighton’s Centre for Arts and Wellbeing hosts a showcase event, celebrating the centre’s innovative work on how the arts can support and inform well-being for the public good. 

The showcase includes creative research stories, spoken word, art-works, discussion, hands-on activities, and live performance. This uplifting and inclusive event is open to all at no cost.

Tickets re available here

I’ll also be there as part of a round table discussion and other duster related activities.

If you ‘d like to stitch a duster to be included and to joint touring collection, please get in touch

Norfolk Makers Festival March 2022

The dusters are now on display at the Norfolk Makers Festival in the Norwich Forum, which runs until 20th March. I spent last weekend there delivering a talk and workshops, plus time in the gallery when I had the pleasure of meetings so many interesting people.

This has a been a wonderful opportunity to bring discussions about women and domesticity, and the lingering gendered legacy of these tasks, to a new community. The call for dusters for this event yielded an amazing 50 new contributions! It keeps on growing and including more and more perspectives. Thank you to everyone for making me feel so welcome. Here are a few highlights:

Dusters strung across the atrium at the Norwich Forum

Preparing for the NORFOLK Makers Fair

Not long now until the Norfolk Makers Festival in Norwich, which will feature the entire duster collection. I’ve been inundated with new submissions following a call out via the @domesticdusters project Instagram.

I’ll be at the fair during its first weekend, giving a talk about the project on the evening of Thursday 10th, then running two workshops on the 11th and 12th March. Details for booking etc can be found on their website. I’ll also be in the gallery space on the afternoons of the 11th and 12th, so do drop in and say hi.

Here are just a few of the new dusters for you to enjoy!

Cinderella emerging from the dust motes by Barbara Powell Jones
“I am becoming the kitchen’ by Wendy Gilchrist
A selection of dusters stitched especially for the fair by members of the Norwich City Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers
Detail of a duster by The Radical Embroiderer

Call for dusters!

I’m excited to announce that the full collection of dusters included in the physical touring collection will be on display during the Norfolk Makers Fair in March!

I’ll be delivering a talk on the project and two workshops as part of their itinerary, but in the meantime I’d like to invite further duster submissions, which can be included in the display.

If, like me, you love a deadline and you’re looking at that half finished duster winking at you from your sewing box, then this is great motivator to finish it. New contributions are also welcome.
Submissions that have previously only been shared digitally, including lockdown dusters, are very welcome.

Please contact me directly once your duster is complete and I’ll reply with my address details.

All dusters must be received no later than 28th February

Looking back at 2021

As we move into 2022 I thought I’d take the opportunity to reflect on 2021 and the opportunities that the dusters have enjoyed this year. In some ways they have got out and about more than me, thanks to the lengthly lockdown in the UK, visiting Belgium in the Spring of 21 and welcoming participants from across the globe thanks to the success of the project Instagram, @domesticdusters.

The dusters had their first post lockdown outing at Sussex Prairies over a beautiful hot summer weekend in July and I’m excited to say that we’ve been invited back next year too.

I also made the most of online opportunities, running workshops with the Virtual Thread and also with two groups of Girl Guides for their Craftivist badges. This was such a privilege and I was so impressed with the way the Guides engaged with the duster as a means of holding their emerging feminist voices.

There have also been various invites to exhibit the dusters physically in the coming year, which I hope will become more frequent as we begin emerge from the Covid restrictions. Watch this space for more info.

I’m starting this year with a Domestic Story Cloths workshop for Textile Artist Stitch Club, which I hope will yield some more dusters for the collection too. The participants are certainly a talented bunch and the associated reflections on our domestic roles and influences, particularly mothers and grandmothers, have been insightful.

Thank you to everyone for your ongoing stitching and support!

Here is a picture of the duster quilt the I made to record my personal Covid lockdown experience, which was exhibited at the University of Brighton Grand Parade campus last month.

Lockdown Duster Quilt, Vanessa Marr. 2020- 21
Lockdown Duster Quilt, Vanessa Marr. On display at University of Brighton December 2021