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From Glasgow Women’s Library – Votes for Women

Donna Wilson - 'Votes For Women' Cushion. Photo by Caro Weiss.
When the weather is cold, what could be better than cosying up indoors with a book – or a book-shaped ‘Votes for Women’ Cushion?!

Last year, Glasgow-based curators Panel (Catriona Duffy and Lucy McEachan) invited me to be a part of their project with the Glasgow Women’s Library. Launching this month to coincide with International Women’s Day, From Glasgow Women’s Library is a collection of six products exclusive to the Glasgow Women’s Library shop. Each one explores the history of women in Glasgow and Scotland through the huge range of material housed within the Glasgow Women’s Library archive.

My knitted ‘Votes for Women’ Cushion was inspired by the library’s many treasures that celebrate the lives and achievements of women. From their lending library of ‘hard to find’ books by, for and about women, to their collections of knitting patterns, recipe books, Suffragette memorabilia and Radical Feminist campaigning materials.

After visiting the library, I went away and sketched ideas for a number of outcomes – including bags, jewellery, and ceramics. I’d been working on a series of knitted cushions shaped like book covers for my AW18 collection and just before a meeting with Catriona and Lucy, the idea of a knitted book cushion designed especially for Library came to me. It was the perfect fit! The title of the book – ‘Votes for Women’ – and the design of a stylised woman wearing a sash are inspired by the women’s suffrage movement and its role in securing the Representation of the People Act (which enabled all men and some women over the age of 30 to vote for the first time), exactly 100 years ago.

Each ‘Votes for Women’ Cushion has been knitted in Scotland from 100% lambswool, before being hand-finished in my London studio-workshop. I hope that my cushion appeals to the visitors of the Glasgow Women’s Library as a symbol of what it represents, as well as being a comfy, practical product that would fit in anyone’s home. It craftily brings together the inextricably linked ‘personal’ and ‘political’ realms of women’s lives.

You can buy the ‘Votes for Women’ Cushion (a limited edition of 30) and the rest of the specially commissioned products exclusively from the Glasgow Women’s Library website from 1st March.

#FromGWL

Panko or Votes for Women (The Great Card Game. Photo by Caro Weiss.

Inspiration from the Glasgow Women’s Library archive: Panko or Votes for Women (The Great Card Game Suffragists v. Anti-Suffragists) (2010.76). 48 playing cards, featuring cartoons by E.T. Reed of Punch magazine, c.1910. Photo by Caro Weiss.

Donna Wilson - 'Votes For Women' Cushion. Photo by Caro Weiss.

‘Votes for Women’ Cushion by Donna Wilson. Photo by Caro Weiss.

Donna Wilson - 'Votes For Women' Cushion. Photo by Caro Weiss.

‘Votes for Women’ Cushion by Donna Wilson. Photo by Caro Weiss.

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