This April a selection of the dusters from the touring collection joined my presentation at the University of Brighton’s CCA Gallery, as part of an event exploring creative processes in activism. The themes of the event: refusal, care, and thriving, were explored through short talks and practical research based activities. These events took place in the gallery alongside Billie Zangewa’s beautiful fabric collages, and beneath the strings of dusters that hung above a huge workspace.
I began the Duster Project presentation by giving each participant a duster and re-threaded needle, inviting them to hold and stitch it as I talked. This was followed by an invitation to “activate your dusters!” accompanied by prompts to contemplate, embody, and embellish their dusters through touch, smell and manipulation.
As I concluded: “The duster is a conundrum. A clever, beautiful thing used for a boring, dirty task. It is invisible. It is often used like a woman”.
Whilst PEG and I were still busy pegging up the 180 Sweary dusters submitted to our one-off collaborative call for sweary dusters, we were invited by the Hold Gallery in Ramsgate to display the dusters there too! The dusters visited for the first weekend in March as part of POWs International Women’s Day events.
Here are a selection of dusters from the hugely successful display of Sweary dusters a the Twelve Taps Gun Bar in Whitstable, February 15th – 28th 2023.
What started out as a domestic protest that welcomed profanity, in collaboration with the Whitstable-based Profanity Embroidery Group (PEG), quickly grew to a lot (and I mean a lot!) of women who enjoyed subverting feminine ‘nice girl’ expectations of embroidery. 180 dusters in all were embellished with protest, humour, memories, tributes to mothers, a good dose of crassness and vulgarity, and plain old bad language!
When hanging the dusters members of PEG and I swiftly realised the need to categorise the dusters into piles from quite rude, to ‘medium rude’, through to so rude (mostly those with c-words) that they needed to be hung at the back of the bar near the toilets! Another exciting aspect was the sheer number of contributors who travelled from far and wide to see their duster on display, bringing mums, partners and children, taking selfies below their profane declarations of war against domestic drudgery.
Thank you to every amazing woman who picked up her needle and swore out her frustrations upon a duster. It couldn’t have happened with you! Thank you too to PEG, who helped out made me feel part of the group – I really enjoyed having collaborators on this crazy project!
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.
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!”
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)
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.