A new venue (wonderful Quatt village hall) and some new women joined our ever-expanding group (and waistlines due to the fabulous cakes and scones provided by the Quatt group!). I am not exaggerating regarding the venue and welcome we received as we brought our third Processions banner making workshop to a new area of Shropshire as part of trying to enable as many women as possible to take part.
Pinched Jaqueline Cooley’s snap of the group – I’m yapping at the front as we looked for inspiration.
Having already decided in previous workshops on having sections to the banner this group had the border to contend with. The women had already got ideas of what they wanted included on the banner because Quatt is an Estate village and is part of the National Trust Dudmaston Hall Estate and it was here that kitchen maid Violet Ann Bland had worked below stairs before moving on to become a hotelier and a passionate Suffragette, who was subjected to force feeding after being imprisoned and becoming a hunger-striker. She was arrested for her part in the 1910 Black Friday demonstration and also imprisoned for window breaking in 1912 leading to a four-month sentence. As with many working class women she was treated brutally for her activism and was one of the women who had to wait a further decade to have her right to vote as she was not married, affluent and owning property.
An image of Violet Ann Bland
The group had got quite a lot of info and imagery relating to medals and certificates sent to women acknowledging their part in the Suffragette movement. So we were all enlightened, inspired and fascinated by the women of our past. Equally we wanted to say something relating to us as a group of women today and had a brilliant and lively discussion of things we want to comment on and decided the use of the hashtag was a good way to communicate. The decision-making process was aided by us all having a go at needle felting as we chatted and more cake and tea – women #multitasking at its best! and I think Carrie must have been assisted by her scone intake as she found a fabulous image online of a suffragette roundel badge that we all thought would be brilliant to use as a template.
We democratically allocated each person with a # message and finished the session with everyone taking measurements and materials away all keen to do some home working. We wrapped up by reminding every one of our additional links in the chain idea and I have been delighted we already have folk sending them in to us. Please do encourage as many Shropshire women to get involved in this and have their voice as part of our extended banner. For info and sizes etc
I’m loving being involved in this project because it is having a profound affect on my knowledge of recent women’s history, I’m hearing the names and exploits of women of Shropshire I would otherwise have not heard of, it’s always been embedded in my art (how can’t it be as a woman artist!) but probably most of all its the coming together of women, hearing their voices, seeing them organise, take part, support and their passion that is the most rewarding outcome for me personally. Can’t wait to see our completed banner and hope our overriding idea of inclusivity and wanting to give a platform for as many Shropshire women as possible is achieved.
#100years #processions2018 #disabilityartsshropshire #shropshire #women #suffragettes #artichoke #quatt #nationaltrust