This article in the Guardian sums it up so well. Help implies that the responsibility falls elsewhere, i.e. with the woman. This is a repeating discussion theme in duster workshops.
If we want to see change then it needs to be talked about. Why not start by adding your experiences to a duster…
I was privileged to meet Sarah Corbett of the Craftivist Collective at Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft last night when she gave a talk about her practice of gentle activism. It was inspiring to hear her passion for changing the world, from the big things to the little things, and how she encourages the use of embroidery to pass on quiet messages that are listened to where shouting fails. It helped me to reflect on the purpose of this project, which is ultimately to give a voice to the domestic experiences of women, in the hope that we will see the female bind of domesticity being released.
I was also really excited to see the duster packs for sale in the shop. The whole collection will be on display alongside a drop-in workshop all weekend from the 4-5th August.
We had a great afternoon at Sutton library yesterday with some new additions to the collections created through combined efforts: a Mum and her two daughters plus another mother and son. I hadn’t anticipated the kids wanting to get involved but it turned into an interesting conversation about who does the cleaning at home and who the children think it will do the housework when they grow up.
This is Lilly proudly holding her duster, which explores predefined gender roles by asking who does the decorating? Above her hangs duster made by her mum Donna and younger sister, which declares the woman a true treasure for completing so many tasks!
This is Ronnie, the first little boy to make a duster with help from Mum Carly. He chose to show his mum now and as a little girl playing beside him as a boy. The piece is called ‘becoming mummy’.
We also had fun learning to sew and exploring collage as a means of expressing your ideas.
A big thank you to Elizabeth Eldridge, mother of Felicity who stitched a duster a couple of weeks ago at Sutton Library, for her contribution to the project: “I’d rather be reading, my PhD isn’t in cleaning”. A sentiment that many of us share I think!
It was exciting to receive another new submission for the collection from Reshmi Nalini at Sutton Library this morning. Her statement is one that can inspire us all!
It’s privilege to have a detail of the duster I embroidered for the recent Marks Make Meaning exhibition and symposium at the University of Brighton featured in the publicity for Brighton Futures – the five themes for research and enterprise at the University of Brighton. ‘The Brighton Futures tackle today’s most pressing challenges through collaborative research and enterprise, generating new insights and practical solutions to improve lives and transform the way we live’, which perfectly reflects the ideas that underpin this project.
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I’m really excited to announce that the duster collection and myself will be taking over the workshop area at Ditchling Museum of art & Craft for the whole of the first weekend in August. We will be inviting you to view the display of over 100 dusters from individuals who have responded to my call to embroider perspectives on women and domesticity onto a duster from 11am – 5pm on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th August. There will also be a drop-in workshop inviting you to begin to stitch your own duster if you wish. The workshop is free with the usual cost to visit the museum, with an optional collection for Women’s Aid if you’d like to contribute.
The duster collection has not been exhibited in it’s entirely since it started in 2014, so there will be some old favourites on display alongside plenty of new additions. If you’d like to stitch a duster beforehand so that yours can be included in the exhibition please contact me for more details.
The duster collection will compliment the current exhibition by Corita Kent, known for her ground-breaking banners and posters. It will be such a privilege to join this work.
I hope to see you there!