Monday, 18 October 2010

Feminism Has Fought No Wars

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I can't remember where I first saw the inspiration for this quilt square - it was either on Mr X Stitch or during a search on Flickr. Anyway, a while ago I saw
this piece of embroidery based on a quote by Dale Spender from her book For The Record: The Making And Meaning of Feminist Knowledge. The Quote reads thus:

Feminism has fought no wars.
It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties.
It's battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions, for safety on the streets, for childcare, for social welfare, for rape crisis centres, women's refuges, reforms in the law.

I thought the piece was beautifully executed, but most of all the quote was poignant. I decided to use it in my own way on my Feminist Statement Quilt.

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Second attempt at layout

As I have mentioned before, I have read The Subversive Stitch by Rozsika Parker and was interested in the way samplers were used to 'train' women in the feminine ways. I decided to create my own sampler around the quote. I wanted to use shades of pink for the colour scheme to keep within the stereotypical feminine frame.

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Work in Progress - text finished

The amount of text I was using posed a problem. I had not stitched this amount of text before and started off having trouble getting the size right. I wanted to fit the text in the space of the square, but not have it too small that when stitched it would be illegible. The piece you see here is actually my second attempt - the first having smaller text. After I had already stitched up half the text I decided it was too small to read properly. I threw it in a drawer for a few days until I could bring myself to start again. I want to do the piece right after all!

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Top banner in progress

I drew out the top and bottom banners by hand, using a pattern that I felt would be thought of as 'feminine'. However, I wanted to use a few different decorative stitches on this piece. It seemed like a good opportunity to play with some new ones! I left straight lines in the design of the piece to be filled in with decorative stitches later.

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Detail showing the variety of stitches

I found a couple of interesting stitches in
The Embroidery Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden. I used Portugese border stitch with a backstitch through the centre and coral stitch along with my usual backstitch for the text and split stitch, whipped split stitch and satin stitch for the main borders top and bottom.

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The finished piece

After a false start I like the way this piece came out. In a way it is my own training sampler. I spent time on it and forced myself to try something new instead of staying in the safe confines of the stitches I use regularly. It may not have instilled a sense of the feminine in me, but it has allowed me to explore new knowledge and skills.

Finally, my Phat Quarter Movie Swap piece was shown in
this Mr X Stitch blog post... go check it out!!

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