I'm very excited to share that I will be doing a week long artist residency at Manchester Jewish Museum beginning next Monday!
This will be a perfect opportunity for me to explore certain strands of my new project looking into 'feminine pursuits', specifically women's history of needlework and its ties to acts of devotion.
Manchester Jewish Museum has a vast collection of artefacts dating back to the 1800's and I've already been told a little bit about some of the textile and craft pieces that I'm keen to look at.
I'll also get the chance to meet and chat to the museum's Women's Textile Group, a collective of women from Jewish and Muslim backgrounds, to find out about what they do and ask more about the whys and hows behind their shared activities.
I'm keen to find out more about the history of women's needlework in Jewish history and culture and how it has helped to shape a sense of identity for the individual, the community and the subjects it represents. I also want to look into the universal language of needle based crafts and try to unpick some of it's meanings to translate into my own work.
My Dolly Parton embroidery in process
I do a lot of embroidering in my art practice and my current stitched portraits of glamorous iconic women from popular culture has been my own act of worship or devotion to them. It's made me want to know more about this way of communicating ideas and also why things like glamour and needlework are classed as 'feminine pursuits', and as such are down graded in artistic importance.
I hope that from my research at Manchester Jewish Museum I'll get a good start in finding out some of the answers or leads to what I want to know and be able to frame my ideas in new ways. I'd like to find a way in the future to use 'feminine pursuits' to empower their users, regardless of gender, and help to give the acts themselves more artistic significance while retaining all the fun and fabulousness they evoke!
During the week long residency I hope to blog regularly about the things I find and share my thoughts with you! So stay tuned, much more to come!...