Sarah-Joy Ford and Juliet Fleming
14 November – 15 December 2018
Vane Gallery, NewCastle
Women, like craft, are often portrayed as pleasant and placid. This exhibition celebrates protest and outrage, stitched into fabric and fired in the kiln. The suffragettes created a visual language of resistance through posters, pamplets, banners, sashes, handkerchief petitions and ceramic tableware. Many seemingly domestic objects became weapons of dissent and symbols for a societal revolution.
On the 100-year anniversary of partial women’s suffrage in the UK, this exhibition of collaborative work draws upon the material histories of dis-obedient craft.
Alongside the aesthetics of protest the exhibition also responds to the history of anti-suffragette propaganda. In particular the use of animalistic imagery that has long been a method employed to oppress and degrade marginalised groups as lesser, other and sub- or non-human. Here the artists are reclaiming an old insult depicting women as cats; gathering together symbols of female power and resistance. Through craft techniques these works celebrate a radical past, acknowledges the continuing struggle for equal rights, and makes a hopeful gesture toward a feminist future.
Sarah-Joy Ford is an artist, curator and researcher currently based in Manchester. She is a co-director of SEIZE projects (Leeds) and the Queer Research Network Manchester. She has studied at The University of Leeds, The Hungarian University of Fine Arts, The School of the Damned and Manchester School of Art. Recent exhibitions include Queen, COLLAR Gallery Manchester (2018) Weaving Europe: The World as Mediation, Shelly Residence, Paphos (2017) SuperYonic, Copeland Gallery, London (2017) and Wish You Were Here, Stryx Gallery, Birmingham (2016). Curatorial projects include The Guild: Contemporary Textiles, Templeworks, Leeds (2016) and Cut Cloth: Contemporary Textiles and Feminism, The Portico Library, Manchester (2017). She has been commissioned as part of The Yorkshire Year of the Textiles, University of Leeds (2016), Processions, Artichoke (2018) and is artist in residence for Strange Perfume, Chetham's Library, Manchester (2018). Ford is the recipient of an AHRC North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership Award for her PhD research examining quilting as a methodology for re-visioning British lesbian archive.
Juliet Fleming is an artist and curator. Born in London in 1991 and lives in Newcastle upon Tyne Fleming received BA Hons Fine Art from Newcastle University in 2015 and a Post Graduate diploma from Northumbria University in 2018 and is part of The Collective Studio, The NewBridge Project cohort 2018/19. Recent exhibitions include 'hubbub' GOLDTAPPED at The Middlesbrough Weekender, Middlesbrough (2018) ‘Six of one, half a dozen of the other’ Exchange Residency at The Royal Standard Liverpool and The NewBridge Project, Newcastle Upon Tyne (2018), ‘Close to you’, TESTT Space, Durham (2018), 'Aftertaste', The Trophy Room, Liverpool (2017) ‘I miss you, Blockbuster... ‘, is this it?, A217 Gallery, London (2017) ‘Worried Mother’ M I L K x Workplace takeover, Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, (2016). Fleming is the Director of GOLDTAPPED, an artist led initiative providing space for experimentation, development and support emerging artist practices.
Hard Craft: Events Program
Archive Screening: There is Power in the Material
There is Power in the Material is a screening of feminist film & video from the Cinenova collection. The moving image works explore the politics of domestic spaces and highlight the use of craft mediums within feminist and queer protest movements.
Cinenova is a volunteer-run charity preserving and distributing the work of feminist film and video makers. Cinenova was founded in 1991 following the merger of two feminist film and video distributors, Circles and Cinema of Women, each founded in 1979. Cinenova currently distributes over 400 titles that include artists’ moving image, experimental film, narrative feature films, documentary and educational videos made from the 1920s to the late 1990s.
Thursday 6th December 6-8pm
Talk: Activism on our sleeves: radical women and dress
Helen Antrobus, The People’s History Museum, Salford.
In this centenary year, marking 100 years since some women were able to vote, protest and civil disobedience have become more important than ever. From the Women’s March to the People’s Vote, the fight for our voices to be heard reflects similar struggles of 1000 years ago. The formidable women of the suffrage movement – from the law abiding suffragists to the militant suffragettes- truly demonstrated how to get organised – including being one of the first political groups to inject symbolic colours and patterns into their dress.
Protesters past and present have used symbolic dress as a way to proudly display their cause. From 1819 to 2018, join historian Helen Antrobus as she brings these stories to life.
Helen Antrobus is the Programme Officer at the People’s History Museum. She specialises in the history of radical and political women, particularly in the women’s suffrage movement. She is a regular contributor to programmes made for BBC One, BBC Four and BBC Radio 4.
Saturday 14th December 2-4pm