I’m often asked about what made me become an artist and I often give a somewhat sounding romantic flippant answer; ‘it’s something that has always been within me’ and ‘It’s something I have to do’ but in reality both these statements are true. The real question is not why I am an artist but why do I feel this way and why do so many others feel like this? Rothko once said he was ‘expressing basic human emotion’ and I think this is at the core of it. It’s about trying to ‘make real’ the relationship within ourselves and the outside world- to comment – to react – to begin a conversation. How we go about this is different because of course we are all different and as one person is expressing beauty another is expressing ugliness, as another expresses joy another expresses pain. But it’s all expression or reaction or observation. This still all sounds a bit wishy washy but in without art it I am incomplete and mute.
I couldn’t have wished for a better group of women to get us started who were happy to give their thoughts and opinions relating to not only the project but to the bigger picture of women in Shropshire today. They were also great about being decisive regarding ideas of how the banner should look and be constructed.
It was decided that the banner will be split into three sections in view of the project being taken to three different locations.
Section one-A central panel will be produced at The Hive which will incorporate the Shropshire Hills, a larger circular sun/moon and the words – WE ARE HERE- incorporated into the design. One of the areas of discussion was about the fact Shropshire is still an unknown place to the rest of the country and the women of the county are also unknown. When we looked at historic banners the majority stated where they were from and so a statement firmly placing us was decided as our strong statement. It was also decide that the words Shropshire Women would be put on the outer border. The materials for that central panel will be a base of felt because of its strong colours and ease to use (no fraying) but that we would work into these felt sections with needle felting, stitching and ‘podging’. The names of important Shropshire women will be part of the design as a close up detail.
Section Two – will be an outer border to the central panel and will frame the central image. This will be made by the group meeting at Quatt. Some ideas of what this may look like were mooted and the idea that maybe a series of individual pieces of a patchwork might be a good construction method. But it was decided that it was important that the group that shows up at Quatt would be best placed to determine this. I would like to have the same/continued conversations with this group in the same way as I had at the first meet up at The Hive.
Section Three– will be the main border and tabs that hold the banner on to poles and additional pieces. This will be done at a drop in session at participate and as an ‘outreach’ part of the project. We know some people want to be involved but can’t get to the sessions and so we thought this was a good way of enabling everyone to have their voice heard. We are going to invite people to make a strip of fabric that states their geographic location and to also add a word/words that express something about being a woman in Shropshire today. The completed strips of fabric need to be approximately 10inches/26cms in length and 3 ½ inches/9cms in width. We will then add these strips either as a fringe at the bottom of our banner (we were inspired by our Morris Troop The Shropshire Bedlams costumes) or made into links to form a fabric chain that unifies all the women of Shropshire.
The construction of the components of the banner will take place on Tuesday June 5th at The Hive and we hope as many people as possible will come and join in.
We also formed a face book group called Shropshire Subversive Stitchers (the subversive stitchers bit came from a comment relating to the banners and procession one hundred years ago) Already we have lots of people being actively involved in researching Shropshire women, posting about the suffrage/suffragettes and putting how they feel being involved in the project as well as saying something about being a woman. Please do join the group an become involved in the conversation.
Delighted to have been asked by DASH to be the lead artist in this amazing project and something dear to my heart. Looking forward to it developing some of the ‘open doors’ left from my arts council funded project which was primarily centred on issues pertinent to women. Looking forward to working and being creative with groups of women in Shropshire to make a banner that is representative of their views today.
PROCESSIONS is produced by Artichoke, the UK’s largest producer of art in the public realm, as part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War centenary.
PROCESSIONS will invite women* and girls across the UK to come together on the streets of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London on Sunday 10 June 2018 to mark this historic moment in a living, moving portrait of women in the 21stcentury.
DASH is one of 100 organisations working with women artists up and down the country in the lead-up to the event, as part of an extensive public programme of creative workshops to create 100 centenary banners which will form part of this vast artwork.
The banner-making workshops will focus on text and textiles, echoing the practices of the women’s suffrage campaign and will be spaces to consider the power of the vote today and our shared future. The banners made will represent and celebrate the diverse voices of women and girls from different backgrounds.
The lead artist for DASH is Anne Marie Lagram, a Shropshire based artist who recently completed an Arts Council funded project called Medgel – Portrait of a Witch https://amlartist.com/
DASH DASH is working with The Hive and S.A.N.D. to create a series of inclusive workshops for disabled women, young women, older women and those who identify as non binary.
The workshops will take place at The Hive, 5 Belmont Shrewsbury, on 12thFebruary, 5th March,26th March, 30th April, 21st May and 5th June.
Helen Marriage, CEO Artichoke said:
The 100th anniversary of the passing of legislation which made universal suffrage unstoppable is a moment both for celebration and reflection. Individuals and groups up and down the country, including DASH, will be at the heart of this UK-wide artwork. What they make and bring to their chosen procession on Sunday 10th of June will form part of a unique living portrait of women today.
PROCESSIONS is commissioned by 14-18 NOW and produced by Artichoke. With support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
PROCESSIONS Cardiff is produced by Artichoke in partnership with Festival of Voice and Wales Millennium Centre.
Just took this off to the framers in readiness for it to go to its new home. Always difficult to say goodbye to a piece that you’ve been working on for some time. Oil on Italian fine canvas with copper and gold leaf – 1.2 x 1 m
Come and join me and storytellers Amy Douglas and Sal Tonge as we walk in the landscape and hear the stories that were the initial inspiration behind the Medgel project.We are meeting at 2pm at Mitchel’s fold stone circle, Shropshire for about 2 hours. I’m hoping that we will have enough folk to get the art pieces out and in the landscape to take a photo – i may be overly ambitious in this ! watch this space ! If you care to join us please message/email me it would be great to meet you