This project invites people to commit onto a duster their own views and experiences on the relationship between women and domesticity. Participation is invited not just from artists but from anyone who had an opinion. So far contributions have ranged from poetic quotes, to resentful statements, to images, to fond memories.
Artist, designer and lecturer Vanessa Marr selected traditional dusters as a metaphor for domesticity because they are mundane (like most domestic tasks), yet visually appealing in their brilliant bright yellow. When exhibited the dusters are strung together like flags proclaiming a multitude of opinions, stitched with red thread to represent femininity.
This projects has been running for several years now and the collection is an ever-growing over 100 dusters strong. It has been exhibited and presented widely in both creative and academic contexts, including the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, the Geffrye Museum in London, Loughborough, Bedfordshire and Brighton Universities, as well as the Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft. Vanessa often gives talks and runs workshops too, during which participants are invited to start their own contribution to the collection.
The ‘Women & Domesticity’ duster project started in 2014 when Vanessa was studying for an MA in Sequential Design & Illustration with the University of Brighton. She wrote poetry and embroidered a collection of dusters commenting upon the expectations of women within a domestic environment. Popular fairy tale phrases were juxtaposed against definitions of domesticity, brutality, protectiveness and femininity, questioning the promises told through fairy tales to women and girls. Determined that the work didn’t end there, and keen to include other perspectives, the idea for this collaborative project was launched.
Dusters are now the focus of Vanessa’s PhD study in autoethnography and continue to inspire her academic writing and creative artwork.
The Duster Project, as it has become known, continues to grow and grow! Please get in touch if you’d like to know more, or contribute your own duster to the collection.
Also visit: Domestic Dusters Instagram with new call for expressions of your domestic experiences during the Covid crisis.