We asked our Artist for DASH PROCESSION Anne Marie Lagram to write a guest blog about her thoughts before we begin.
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I've already learnt so much about women's suffrage history since agreeing to be part of this project and particularly about the 'original' processions made by tens of thousands of women on the afternoon of Saturday 13 June 1908 who processed through central London to the Albert Hall, where they held a rally. The reason for the procession was to draw the country's attention to women's demand that they should be given the vote on the same terms as it was given to men.
I've found out about the Artists' Suffrage League founded in January 1907 by Mary Lowndes which was set up to involve professional women artists in preparations for what became known as the 'Mud March' which was really the first procession tried by women as part of their tactics to raise awareness. The weather was so inclement for this march that the 1908 procession was deliberately moved to summertime. I have now been introduced to many women artists who I had never heard of thanks to researching for the project. I feel honoured to be treading in the footsteps of these spirited women who used actions and words and images to get their point across.
For the 2018 Procession we want to bring Shropshire women together through this creative project and to give an art platform for their voices heard. We are not fighting for a right to vote, as our predecessors of 100 years ago, but we should use this opportunity to consider and say something about how we see ourselves as women in relation to the original aim of equal status. It's a chance to comment, celebrate, commemorate, remember and look to the future. It's also a chance to identify ourselves as a geographically linked group of women living in a diverse and very spread out county.
My role as lead artist as enabling a design that reflects the women involved with the project. Firstly we need to discuss anything and everything about not only the occasion of the past but how we want to make it about women today. The ideas, words, images that come from these initial discussions will then be developed into a design that will make not only a striking piece of art work but also reflect the people contributing to it. We are keen to enable any woman to take part whether as an individual at home or as part of a group at work or as part of one of the sessions we are running and so in view of this I see the banner being made up of many sections that when bought together forms our combined efforts and opinions.
In regards to making the Banner we hope to combine a variety of textile techniques but please do not think you have to be great at sewing to take part in this – we will develop the best ways to make it so that all skill levels are not only involved but are of equal value to the project. I'm hoping I can show some of you a few new ways of working as part of the project.
But the heart of this is about being involved and so we ask all women in our wonderful county to please take part in some way; there will be templates on social media/DASH website for individuals to make a piece of the overall design which will be personalised in some way, I want to encourage women to send in words/images/thoughts about being a woman in Shropshire today. We want as many of you as possible to come to some of the group sessions we will be holding and to come with us on June 10th to carry our banner. Be a part of a very special project that has only come about because of the pro-active women – our grandmothers and great grandmothers- who were impassioned enough to do something about the inequality and injustice they experienced.
We will let you all know more regarding the design and making of the Banner and when and where workshops will be after the initial meet up at The Hive – Shrewsbury on February 12th 11.00am
Finally we see the art piece as already having begun, this discussion, communication, ideas, thoughts are all a part of it, as are the messages and info put out there and the responses we get. Whilst making a banner is our key objective we think the journey we make to get there is of equal value and importance.
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