Cross-posted from: Jen Farrant
Originally published: 08.05.18
I am one of the few consultants in my field (arts & culture/not for profit), who has their own website.
I have love affairs with social media and then stop. I invest lots of time Tweeting and sharing links. I post lots of photos. And then stop. I’ve had a lot of thoughts about Instagram, especially I love photography. I used to post to Instagram very regularly. Then I did a course from a very well respected Instagram expert, which stopped me in my tracks.
That was mainly because I don’t want my feed to look like the feeds she promoted and I do not want to worry about a perfectly curated feed which needs planning in advance. Doing the course actually stopped me doing Instagram as I couldn’t and didn’t want to do Instagram like she did. For some reason it didn’t occur to me that I could do Instagram as I wanted. …
Jen Farrant: Feminist writing about art, freelancing, creativity, education, and coming to terms with being disabled
The story of Eve receiving the fruit of knowledge from the Serpent in Genesis is familiar, but most people don’t know that Western European artists depicted the Serpent as a Goddess from about 1200 to the 1600s. The earliest example I’ve found is a sculpture from Notre Dame de Paris during the 1200s. The Snake Goddess is coiled around the Tree of Wisdom:
Many illuminated manuscripts show the Snake Goddess coiled around the tree in the same way, like the kundalini serpent winding around the human spine, but wearing a ladies coif:
Suppressed Histories Archive : The Suppressed Histories Archives uncovers the realities of women’s lives, internationally and across time, asking questions about patriarchy and slavery, conquest and aboriginality. About mother-right, female spheres of power, indigenous philosophies of spirit– and the historical chemistry of their repression. Even more important, their role in resisting oppression. A global perspective on women’s history offers fresh and diverse conceptions of women’s power, as well as of men and gender borders. It overturns stereotypes of race and class, and the structures of domination that enforce them. It digs under the usual story of lords and rulers, looking for hidden strands, and reweaves knowledge from the divided fields of history, archaeology, linguistics and folk tradition. So we cast a wide arc, looking for patterns and gaps and contradictions which, where vested power interests are at stake, are trigger points for controversy. Some of the flashpoints are women’s power; neolithic female figurines; gender-egalitarian mother-right cultures; patriarchy; witch-hunts; “heresies” such as goddess veneration or shamans; and the rise and fall of empires, including the doctrines of supremacy and inferiority that prop up all systems of domination.
June 24- “It’s kind of an elf date.They are playing and dancing and singing all night long.”- Ragnhildur Jonsdottir, in conversation with Marianne Bjornmyr
If you grew up reading Andrew Lang books like I did, you’d understand my fascination with fairy tales. As a child with an over-active imagination I believed in fairies, elves, goblins, sprites, every fairy creature. It seemed so normal to me that they existed. If you’d seen me convincing my sisters to help me look for fairies you might have laughed, but I was earnest. I never did find any traces of fairy folk and I soon grew out of that belief. Hearing stories about the Icelandic belief in elves intrigued me, and it was one of the reasons Iceland had always appealed to me as a holiday destination. Apparently a considerable percentage of the population believed in Huldufólk , i.e. “hidden folk.” Judging from its landscape Iceland it does seem like the perfect place to have elves. Maybe the word ethereal is over-used but in the case of Iceland it’s very appropriate. …
Les Reveries de Rowena: I’m a woman moulded and shaped by three continents; my life has always been about border epistemology: navigating between cultures. My hunger for knowledge is insatiable, my dreams are big, but alas, my energy is limited. I’m a dreamer, an exhorter and a comforter. I believe strongly in kindness, love, authenticity and in listening to the voices of marginalized people. Please expect some impassioned posts from time to time! I’m a strong advocate of the arts, especially literature and music. A better world would be one with more art, more people writing and creating, more people dancing. Africa will always have my heart.
Rae Ritchie: I blog mainly about history and women’s magazines, with more creeping in on contemporary magazines than I’d expected, and most definitely consider myself (and my writing) to be a feminist.
Cross-posted from: Jen Farrant
Originally published: 27.06.17
Are you self sabotaging your creative work by unrealistic, subconscious expectations?
We had the committee meeting for my concert band last night, and the discussion turned to next year’s programme. We all talked through our thoughts about it and I said that I was worried because I have really struggled with this terms’ harder pieces.
We’re changing things up this year! Below are just some of the ways we would like to support feminist and womanist writers this year.
‘What we’re reading’ will no longer be a quick round-up of interesting articles written by feminist and womanist writers each week. Instead, it will be a collation of all the new blogs and articles written by members that week. In order to do this, members need to tweet us links to all their new work, including, but not limited to, poetry, short stories and art published online. We will also include links to new work that is only available in printed publications.
We will publish only a section of new writing under ‘Featured Blog’ to push traffic back to our members’ writing, art, vlogs, etc
When we feature a new piece of work by members under “Featured Blog”, we will also share links to their work on other platforms.
We will be publishing links to members new writing regardless of where it is published on our social media pages. Currently, we have focused only on twitter and Facebook but we will be expanding to other social media platforms this year.
We are going to create a larger biography section. Currently, the ‘Our Writers’ section contains only a brief biography with links to members blogs and Facebook pages. We will still use this brief biography at the bottom of ‘Featured Blogs’, but this will now include a link to the longer biography that will contain links to any articles, poetry, short stories, art etc. published online, as well as any books (or chapters of books) that are written by members. We would also like members to name any campaigns they have been involved with or public speeches they have made (such as academic conferences but also Reclaim the Night and feminist marches), but also any blog posts you are most proud of.
We are going to focus more on publishing ebooks of members writing, both as a way to help fund our feminist and womanist network but also to demonstrate the sheer beauty of our members’ writing and art, which hasn’t found mainstream publishers. Check out the details of our latest anthology on women only spaces. The deadline for abstracts is February 1. Our first anthology was published in 2016. You can buy it here.
We’re always looking for new ways to support our members so please get in touch with your ideas!
i started taking street art photos for a very urgent reason: to learn about space in this city where i am an alien (last 4 digits of alien#: 1868). i took them in the streets because i have always had a fascination with space: i have no skills to manage time. everyone knows how easy is to lash out (whatever this means) and how pragmatic could be application of self-control and focus on a project, so I tried to concentrate and think about image that “happens” through space as a rewarding result since it produces emotion. so, i took street art pictures to be able to understand my needs for visual signs. i didn’t want to mimic straight photography neither “masculinize” my flicks by rendering an (en)vision of a person in control of the process. i have always like accidents and/ or coincidental (un)coordinations. i wanted (still have no other choice) to work with accessible tools as well. at the end, everything seems to revolve around access to material, and access to time. most of the time for these street photos i have used mass mediatized best seller mid-lower-than-high resolution bodies in a combo with plastic travel size trashy lenses that are slow and most of the time cannot get the light right: these are perfect for loosing it and make me think that i can do it.
so i took my chances and was inspired by a couple of radical readings i stumbled upon lately: Vera photography collection and interest in getting personal through urban images (basic space), Olesya’s master compositions in her presentation of T-Aviv journy (donate yourself), Artem’s classic idea of circulation and illustrated literature zines (Flores Violetas), two email messages from my friend Alejandro and his kind review of my latest novel, Moyra Davey’s essay for her limited edition book The problem with reading, and my latest communication with Margaret Vendryes, who has been working on multiplicity of signs and building fiction along with constructing memory objects.
These photos i am planning to hang on a flickr account, as soon as time allows, are part of my extra-large virtual street art collection. The one I did build with the help of streetfiles, one of the most openly democratic projects I have seen online, full of misogynistic oriented spoil vandals and homophobic kids and the best part: very serious artists and fine street art collectors from whom I have been learning about the street art esthetics. Now that streetfiles is dead, I can dwell and swell in the anxieties of withdrawal and reuse my pics.
Delancy Street. Lower East Side. Three Trucs.
Kodak tx 400 expired film.
Jacqueline Herranz-Brooks is currently working on her PhD dissertation on Auto(r)fiction at theGraduate Center, City University of New York. Her most recent projects are Lyrics of the Streets, where she pastes texts onto walls or abandoned objects around NYC; and Vicious Reading, where she photographs texts anonymously placed on urban spaces where minority communities are being displaced due to gentrification. She is the author of Liquid Days (TribalSong, Argentina, 1997), Escenas Para Turistas (Campana, NY, 2003), Mujeres Sin Trama (Campana, NY, 2011) and Viaje en Almendrón (Installation book for Gallery Miller, JCAL, 2015)
I’m all about seeing and feeling deep into things and people, including myself. I’m wired for hardcore truthseeking and truth speaking. I’ve finally, after a few decades of peregrination and beating around the bush, settled on an identity; that thing or things I tell people about what I do, but most importantly, who “I Am.”
It took longer than the usual amount of time considered acceptable (in the testosteronic value system) to find the verbs because I had to go in search of them, and it was through the doing and the feelings that accompanied the doing that I was finally able to settle on my Verbs of Being. You see, for me, I just couldn’t take on the prescription identity of the dispensers of the shrink wrap: teacher, nurse, mail carrier, therapist, dog groomer, dental hygienist, doctor, lawyer, etc. Those are fine nouns of identity if that is who you are and what are here to do, but, try as I might, I couldn’t recoil my outrage and suck in my girth to fit into the pencil skirt or the scrubs. With all due respect to that dying system of misplaced value, I was in search of the Verbs that served the Nouns. And I came to realize that I don’t think we really fully know what our Verbs are until much later in life, in spite of what the motivational speakers and career coaches will have you believe. It’s the journey that reveals the secrets. Read more Forensic Feminist at The Daly Woolf
My photographs remind me that there have been moments when I have been truly present in my life.
Looking through them reveals my choices, my treasures and the things that draw me to record my experiences; my ongoing interests and minor obsessions . Wait ’til you see my thing for benches!
Photographs of Art that I have made, literally records my mark upon the world and how I shape the things I perceive. I am fascinated by the way the human form expresses feeling – I go back time and again to explore this. The mannequin below sat on or near my desk until I got brave enough to draw it. Read more Fifty Images – 4.02 by @skybluepink
I’ve somehow never written this post about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – the poem that is many people’s first encounter with the gorgeous poetic language and spellbinding storytelling of medieval England – though I’ve been wondering about a minor detail I’ve noticed in the poem, for a while. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was written in the late fourteenth century, somewhere in the West Midlands to judge by the dialect, and it survives in a single manuscript along with three other works by the same writer: two religious poems and a long, very beautiful and very evocative dream-vision about mourning and loss. All of these poems – but especially Gawain and Pearl – show a fascination with symmetry and number-patterns, and there are any number of complicated interlocking sequences of pairs and triplets and fivefold symmetries, as well as concentric circular structures of narrative and verse form. Read more A small and pleasing discovery (possibly?) about Sir Gawain by @LucyAllenFWR
The gallery had sold out of the glossy, colour catalogue for Making the Australian Quilt: 1800–1950 by the time I saw the exhibition last week. But I had a terrific chat with the young woman serving at the museum shop while I placed an order to have the catalogue mailed out (at a discounted rate, no less).
“Isn’t it interesting,” she said, “how contemporary some of those quilt designs are. It’s amazing to think they predated modernism by decades. But not acknowledged, of course.” She gave me a gorgeous, wry smile. “Why would women’s sewing be acknowledged as art?”
Making the Australian Quilt: 1800–1950 is a wonderful and important exhibition now showing at NGV Australia (the gallery at Federation Square, in the heart of Melbourne). Over eighty works are on display – mainly quilts and bedcovers – and they are variously beautiful, historically significant, poignant, charming and fascinating. Intricate quilts stitched by convict women en route to Australia. Depression-era blankets (called waggas) made in desperation from scrounged bits and pieces. Delicate embroidery commemorating the jubilee of Queen Victoria. Read more Elizabeth Macarthur’s Quilt at the National Gallery of Victoria
One of my great passions is Big Junk Art – I just love cardboard. So when Holywell school gave me the go ahead for a Big Art Project at the end of term; I was thrilled.
After laying out a rough framework of boxes, I set to work with the gaffer tape and rolls and rolls of masking tape – in fact I realised, at the end of the project, that I had used the entire schools supply!
Once the skeleton was reasonably firmly fixed together and safe from the enthusiasm of the year one and two children, we embarked on the next stage of fleshing out. This needed a pile of another expensive resource – newspaper.
I was lucky that a big group of year 4 girls were happy to help during their lunch hour, as the end of term was looming. They were an efficient team – some scrunching the newspaper into balls others attaching it with the masking tape. Piece by piece the beast began to take shape. Read more Violet, the Vocabulary Dragon, by @skybluepink
Cross-posted from: Her Story
Originally published: 25.01.16
Growing up, it was always a close call between art or literature. I even looked up joint degrees that allowed you to study art AND literature at university, before deciding on literature in the end, knowing that it would be better to get to the core of one which might be ‘better in the long run’. Still, art and literature are not two completely opposite crafts, but very interlinked (William Blake, anyone?) but I guess that’s common knowledge. So since then, a part of me always wanted to set aside time and materials to paint, to draw, to create. To return to the raw smell of paint, the way it layers, moulds, hardens and leaves its marks and scent for days after. To me, colours are fascinating. Even digital art is; playing with textures and brushes on photoshop, manipulating images to make them completely unrecognisable. Yet I prefer the former; the physical, ‘traditional’ form of art. The watercolours, the pencils, the brushes. In a technological world, it feels good to return to something that you know came from the earth, the plants. It feels good to switch off. Read more When words fail by @Durre_Shahwar
I can’t remember when I started this painting, several months ago I think. I created a collage background and added layers of sprayed stencils, painting and doodling but just didn’t finish it.
I was sorting through my basket of collage materials and found the background painting in there a couple of days ago. I was really only looking for a couple of scraps to stick down to begin a new piece.
As I looked at it I noticed a shape – pretty much the one that eventually became the bear/lion/ gorilla creature that ended up there. And I was really quite excited to have a go at bringing the creature to life.
Sometimes, putting a focal image (the main subject of a painting) into one of my backgrounds is a bit of a block for me – I get to the end of creating a background that I really like and I am scared of ‘spoiling it’.
With this background, I had made it so long ago that I couldn’t even remember when it was. It was really freeing – as if some kind person had started a piece and left it there for me to play with.
I now have a piece that I really enjoy.
Don’t get me wrong, every time I look at it I can see something I could improve but this piece gives me a warm feeling. I love the way the face turned out. And I might just go back for another fiddle!
As a very wise man said:
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
Leonardo da Vinci
So can you give me any of your best discoveries for tackling the fear factors in your creative practice? Please do share.
Sky Blog Pink: I am a feminist who is proud to have brought up a strong and feminist daughter. I am a teacher of twenty two years who has recently become an Education Technology entrepreneur – creating technology aimed at making ‘Every Child a Reader’ – I am very lucky to have the support of the Cambridge University Judge Business School Accelerator Programme which is run by a woman though I am still a minority being female and 40+ . Twitter I am @skybluepink
I’ve been feeling low lately, with all the terrible news stories of the last few days, and I wanted to write about something that makes me happy.So here it is.
I got my new Tarot Deck today!
I’ve had the Dark Grimoire, (a Lovecraft inspired deck) for a few years and they are beautiful. I wanted them because they’re so dark and dreadful, but dark and dreadful isn’t the right mindset for me when I’m doing a reading, it makes me anxious. So I started looking for a new deck, I looked for Months and couldn’t find anything that even came close to what I wanted, then I found The Tarot Of The Silicon Dawn, illustrated by Margaret Trauth.
It’s bright, it’s vibrant and it’s beautiful. It immediately appealed to the child, the nerd and the feminist in me. I stumbled across the Justice card and that was enough for me to order it straight away. She’s standing tall, strong and beautiful. And what is she looking at, anyway? Something she’s fought, or something she has yet to fight?
It was released in 2011, and seems to have attracted a group of readers who immediately loved it. I avoided looking up too much about it- I wanted a surprise when it arrived, and it turns out The Tarot Of The Silicon Dawn is a massively unconventional deck.
It has extra cards , including three fools, each one representing a different cycle in her life. It has a whole extra ‘Void’ suit, to represent ‘where we aren’t’ The next life, a parallel Universe, anywhere but here. Whichever way it’s drawn, it’s read as a sideways card, there is no upright and no reversed.
At first I was a little worried about remembering which fool was which, but the styles are so different it makes it easy, all the cards are so different that even if you’ve never picked up a deck before, I don’t think the extra cards would be too difficult to work with straight away.
The cards are much smaller than the average Tarot deck, which I adore. I have pretty small hands and when reading a normal deck I sometimes find my hands start to hurt, which can be off-putting. These are close to average playing card size and fit nicely in my hands, though they may be a little too small for those with big hands.
Another thing I loved (LOVED) was all the women in this deck, I haven’t spent much time with it yet, so I can’t remember every card, but I only recalled seeing one or two men as I went through and looked at the cards. It’s very much a female dominated deck. The emperor is a woman, Death is a woman. It’s a deck full of powerful women. That wins it big points in my book.
Even the box is beautiful. It’s a flip box, with space for the cards and the book (which is pretty large, considering it includes the new card explanations too) A quick-view of the suits are on the inside lid, making for easy viewing.
The Void cards are beautiful, they’re black and sort of embossed. It’s really hard to see in a photo, you have to hold them up to the light to see the subtle pictures. They include illustrations such as this, the Starseed, a 2001 inspired card depicting our soul, our next life, our origins. I love that it’s a super cute dinosaur. Many of the cards are almost glittery, too. The twinkle when you tilt them back and forth in the light. It’s a beautiful affect and the embossing somehow makes them seem more solid. They’re a little thicker than the average card because of this, which makes me less worried about bending and creasing them.
I find it’s so much easier to tell the story when reading from a deck which is full of creativity and colour, I struggle with some of the older and more conventional decks because I find them boring and sometimes a little lifeless. With this you don’t have to rely on the subtle hints to tell a story, the tools on the Magicians table or the plants The Empress cares for. The characters are neck deep in their own stories, and you’re just happening to see a small glimpse of it when you’re looking at the cards.They aren’t static figures fixed in time waiting for you to read them, and I find that makes a big difference.
My Favourite card.
We all have that one special card that we identify with, no matter what the deck. Mine is the 10 of wands, so I was hoping that it would be good. It didn’t disappoint. It’s probably the most beautiful in the entire deck, though I might be a little biased. I have never been a believer that money can buy happiness, I’ve seen people so obsessed with material gain that they have lost everything that’s important to them. Wealth doesn’t further our knowledge, it doesn’t nurture our soul. If anything it can take us backwards, while we stifle and destroy our purpose in the hopes of having a bigger car and a bigger house. The 10 of wands shows that perfectly, it shows the wide-eyed, hopeful apprentice finally achieving what they worked so hard for, they are wealthy, important- they are the head of an empire. But they are unhappy. They stand, staring out at everything they have, everything they own, but they are alone. It’s an important warning, or an even more important harsh truth.
The Tarot Of The Silicon Dawn is truly the most beautiful, inspired deck I have ever been lucky enough to stumble across. It is bold, inspiring and a must have for any witch out there with nerd tendencies, and I am already totally in love with it.
Is My Gender Showing? I’m an animal, people and tree hugging ecofeminist. Sporadic fiction writer and freelance journalist with a new blog, Is My Gender Showing? about all areas of feminism with a focus on objectification, gender roles and mental health. I also from time to time document my adventures with No More Page 3 Leeds and Yorkshire Feminista. I can be on Twitter found at @feministvibes
Sometimes I just crave a blank canvas to spill out everything that’s bottled up in me. Like a gush of paints and ink splatter. In no order or any sense, yet hoping you will read off your screens and nod your head,barely able to understand what I’m trying to say and still be able to say to me telepathically, ‘Hey, it’s okay, we all have our days’. Splatter days I want to call them.
It’s like waiting, endlessly for something you have no idea about. Like waiting at a curb looking for cars to pass by or in a hospital corridor at 3 AM with just the breeze of doors being pushed around. You don’t see anyone and it gets quiet again. You try to hear something familiar to you or something that holds a faint meaning. But instead, all you see is blank spaces. So blank, they make you feel all eerie inside. You see random people occasionally who’ve seen and dealt with the situation themselves or could be battling their own inner demons, handing you obscure advice. More splatter. You think you don’t need that advice till one day it all begins to resonate. Can you still call it a painting if it isn’t complete? Will it ever be complete?
I see mimes with all the upside down smiles, shaking their heads. No. They pat my head, trying to console me. There, There. They don’t convey anything more than that. They can’t. There is nothing left to be addressed. They know it’s my journey and I’m on my own.
I take a few steps ahead in the name of moving on. For the sake of moving on. Let’s try to collect more splatter – I can’t help look back again and again as I go forth. I move ahead a few steps more till I can actually walk by myself….. steady…….steady…….I look back lesser now…….but I still look. Hoping the deeply missed splatter shade will bloom on my canvas some day.
Obscure and Unnecessary Drama: Mehreen Shaikh, an Indian writer born and raised in Oman. Although I do visit my country of origin annually, I did spend a few years there studying. Not just academics but our society. Narrowing down further, I observed the relationship it had with women. I was brimming with observations and outrage. It took me a good while to tame my angst and harness it into proper valid arguments. Now I blog, where I feel free to rant about issues that I notice that most people would dismiss as minor but I know how the woman in that instance would feel. So many thoughts and so many incidents take place in a woman’s world that by no means are simple or easy to resolve.