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100 Years of Self-expression

What relevance has crafting had in the last 100 years of history?

Since the Suffragettes, women have sewn banners to mark their presence and make their voices heard. Women sewed quilts in WW2 Japanese prisoner of war camps, story cloths in the refugee camps of Thailand, they appliquéd their experiences under the brutal dictatorship in Chile, made patchwork skirts from the remnants of their lives in post-war Holland, and told of their abuse in apartheid South Africa. All across the world women have stitched their thoughts, hopes and concerns to speak out and share the reality of their lives. In 1980s Britain, at the Greenham Common women’s peace camp, women wrapped the four mile perimeter fence in home-made banners. They cut up their children’s clothes to weave doves of peace and rainbows of hope onto the fence itself.

Today women still use a needle and thread to campaign against social injustice, seen in the work of the Craftivist Collective and a multitude of artists and activists sharing their work online and encouraging others to join them.

And now it is your turn. As you will see in this toolkit, anyone can make a banner and we invite you to use your awareness and creativity to make a banner that demonstrates what it is to be a woman in the 21st century.

In June 2018, with your banners held high, we will capture this moment in time to create a remarkable, memorable collage of a community, generation on generation, of women in the past, here now and in the future.

  • By Clare Hunter, Sewing Matters

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