My new installation commissioned by Somerset Artworks as part of Muse:Makers in Museums
has now opened at Chard Museum in Somerset and is open until Saturday 28 October 2017.
The former industries of Chard – from agriculture and lacemaking to James Gillingham’s boot-making and artificial limb production and the collar factories – all inform my installation.
The town’s social histories and politics also form part of my research and my intention is to highlight the often invisible histories and contributions made by women through the generations.
I have chosen to work with different types of netting fabric to allude to the history of the local lace factories and to suggest an outline of an edifice or factory building. The fabrics and cut-outs also reference the female body and the workforce who powered the local industries.
The suspended figures are based on photographic and archive research into history of women and the different roles they have played in industry, agriculture, politics and reform in Chard.
Referencing themes of the body, the machine and rural traditions-bodies, buildings and cogs merge to create the installation, which is suspended next to the machinery and working implements on display here to offer an alternative, woman-focused narrative for the local collection.
I have also been working with the local community to realise a celebratory banner, which references Margaret Bondfield and the social and personal histories of women in Chard. It features personal motifs together with those that draw on the local landscape and architecture of the town.