PROCESSIONS Banners made in Wales

PROCESSIONS was a mass participation public artwork that took place on 10 June 2018 in all four UK capitals, to celebrate 100 years of votes for women. 100 artists were commissioned to make 100 centenary banners, working with community organisations across the UK.

By Artichoke Trust

Produced by Artichoke and commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions. PROCESSIONS' generous supporters thanked at the end of the story.

Aerial view of London's PROCESSIONS (June 10th, 2018)Artichoke Trust

PROCESSIONS

The women who came together on the streets 100 years ago made themselves visible with handmade flags, banners, pins and rosettes. The workshops focused on text and textiles, echoing the practices of the women’s suffrage campaign, and the banners made represent and celebrate the diverse voices of women and girls from different backgrounds.

Aberystwyth Arts Centre (2018-03/2018-06) by Becky KnightArtichoke Trust

Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Artist: Becky Knight

Contributors: The Thursday Women. With Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Location: Aberystwyth

Materials: mixed textiles, print

Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Beginning with the idea of Vitruvian Woman – proportion and perfection, the group decided to make the woman on their banner life-sized.

She is Everywoman. Practical, scientific and thoughtful, she is surrounded by and aware of nature and the passing of time.

Aberystwyth Arts Centre

The symbols within the circle represent the things she cares about, issues that are and will be vital in the lives of humans. Peace, water, shelter, health, fertility, language, the gender pay gap, period poverty (and much else), were all discussed during the construction and sewing. 

Around her, supporting, are pictures of mothers, sisters, friends, and many inspirational women.

Made in Roath (2018-04/2018-06) by Jessica AkermanArtichoke Trust

madeinroath

Artist: Jessica Akerman

Contributors: madeinroath

Location: Cardiff

Materials: mixed textiles

madeinroath

This banner was inspired by the dazzle ships of the First World War. Their geometric patterns confused and disrupted the enemy’s ability to fire on target. 

This banner is the antithesis of camouflage: hi-vis cloth combines with leatherette (sham leather), a material celebration of the Suffragettes’ adoption of the sneering moniker first used by the Daily Mail to imply the activists were ‘sham Suffragists’. 

madeinroath

Structured sculpturally to reflect the prow of a ship, the banner is accessorised with homemade cardboard armour as a nod to that worn by Suffragettes under their dresses. 

The partially camouflaged slogan responds to Wales’ feminist heritage. Gently subverting the national anthem of Wales, ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ (Old Land of My Fathers), this text reads, ‘Hen Wlad Fy Mama’ (Old Land of My Mothers).     

Mostyn (2018-05) by Melanie MillerArtichoke Trust

MOSTYN

Artist: Melanie Miller

Contributors: Mostyn Art Gallery/CALL Culture Action Llandudno workshop participants

Location: Llandudno

Materials: mixed textiles

MOSTYN

The banner was made by a group of 24 women and girls aged from seven years old to their mid-seventies. The banner includes an archive image from the Museum of London of Welsh participants in the 1911 Coronation Procession. The image has been recreated outside Mostyn Gallery and features some of the workshop participants.

MOSTYN

The banner also features stitched portraits of notable women from North Wales. Some of these were inspired by CALL artist Lindsey Colbourne's ‘Llandudno through the stories of women’ project.

Others, selected by the group, include local Suffragists Charlotte Price-White, Mildred Spencer and Laura McLaren, and the late Val Feld, Labour politician and equalities campaigner. Feld’s sister stitched the portrait.

Oriel Myrddin Gallery (2018-04/2018-05) by Rhiannon WilliamsArtichoke Trust

Oriel Myrddin Gallery

Artist: Rhiannon Williams

Contribrutors: Oriel Myrddin Gallery with Dr M'z (Camarthen Youth Club)

Location: Carmarthen

Materials: cotton, sequins, beads

Oriel Myrddin Gallery

This warrior butterfly banner was made by a group of intergenerational volunteers and members of Carmarthen’s youth club, Dr M’z. It is adorned with words, phrases and images generated by the group and is decorated with hand-stitched names and symbols important and meaningful to each individual.

Oriel Myrddin Gallery

‘It demands that the feminine can be strong. It is a symbol of change: in the procession it looked like a huge butterfly flying through the sky with a message in its wings’. Rhiannon Williams, artist. 

‘Projects like this are invaluable - bringing people together to express unity and friendship.’ Louise Bird, participant.      

Peak Cymru (2018-05/2018-06) by Bettina ReevesArtichoke Trust

Peak Cymru

Artist: Bettina Reeves

Contributors: Peak Processions Group. With Peak Cymru

Location: Crickhowell

Materials: mixed textiles

Peak Cymru

The group's aim was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the start of women’s suffrage in Britain. They wanted to honour the persistence and passion shown by the Suffragettes and to reflect the ongoing concerns of feminism in 2018. 

The chosen slogans and symbols apply to both eras: the group wanted to convey that women still need to ‘Rock the Boat', and that ‘Empowered Women Empower Women’ is as true today as in 1918. 100 pansies represent free spirits, and birds represent freedom. 

Peak Cymru

A group of women of diverse ages and experience formed this banner-making community and together were moved by the challenge of ideas and craft, and excited at participating in the largescale artwork, PROCESSIONS. 

Ruthin Craft Centre (2018-05/2018-06) by Lisa Carter and Bethan HughesArtichoke Trust

Ruthin Craft Centre

Artists: Lisa Carter and Bethan Hughes

Contributors: Ruthin Craft Centre

Location: Ruthin

Materials: calico, ribbon

Ruthin Craft Centre

Bleidlais is the Welsh word for vote. The ‘lais’ in Bleidlais also means voice in Welsh. ‘Defnyddia dy Bleidlais’ / 'Use Your Vote (Voice)' underlines the relationship and importance of using both in achieving equality for all. 

The image has been designed to be a visual action, the hand-painted black lines on the calico referencing both the imprisonments of 1918 and the contemporary barriers to equality today. 

Ruthin Craft Centre

The distinctive Suffragette colours in ribbon, breaking the bars, represent the continued need for a change in perceptions.

Span Arts (2018-05/2018-06) by Nia LewisArtichoke Trust

Span Arts

Artist: Nia Lewis

Contributors: Women Survivors Support Project. With Span Arts

Location: Narberth

Span Arts

This banner was inspired by the format and powerful graphic style of the original Suffragette banners.  

Listening to a reading of Emmeline Pankhurst’s 1913 ‘Freedom or Death’ speech resonated deeply with the women and, as the artist Nia Lewis said, ‘the atmosphere in the room changed’.  

Consequently, those words became central to the workshop conversation and the final design. The group connects the Suffragette fight for the vote with their ongoing struggles to assert their own freedom and seek justice.  

Span Arts

For this group of survivors of domestic abuse, the motif of hands represents the future and moving on. One participant described this as 'the support we give each other, reaching out in friendship'.

Theatr Clwyd (2018-03/2018-06) by Ticky LoweArtichoke Trust

Theatr Clwyd

Artist: Ticky Lowe

Contributors: Portfolio, Company 25, Company 55 and the theatre’s PROCESSIONS group. With Theatr Clwyd

Location: Mold

Materials: mixed textiles

Theatr Clwyd

Theatr Clwyd collaborated with visual artist, Ticky Lowe, to develop a concept for their banner to commemorate 100 years since women were able to vote. They decided to have ‘Celebrating Welsh Women in the Arts’ as their theme, and the participants decided which women were represented.

The group didn’t hold back when designing their banner and were keen to make it as elaborate and flamboyant as they could, using as many sewing techniques as possible. It was important to use colourful fabrics and also to emphasise the Suffragette colours.

Women’s Arts Association (2018-03/2018-06) by Patricia Dickson and Amanda MarshallArtichoke Trust

Womens Arts Association

Artists:  Women's Arts Association

Contributors: Wales Assembly of Women, Women's Arts Association, Art Central Friends, Mercury Theatre Wales, SEEdS, Canton Women's Institute, Oasis Refugee Centre and individual women interested in stitching, making and liberty

Location: Cardiff

Materials: mixed textiles

Womens Arts Association

The Women's Arts Association (WAA) decided that, instead of commissioning an artist, their members and the other makers would each design a square. These would be stitched together to form a banner. This promotes the principles of equality and also establishes a reference to women who have made patchwork in so many different and beautiful designs for hundreds of years. 

The squares were made by members of WAA, community groups who practice stitching together, refugees, women with very few stitching and or design skills, women who offered to make a square, who were politically motivated or artistically motivated: in other words, as diverse a group could be gathered together.

Womens Arts Association

The banner is made from purple fabric with a black cotton backing. The 32 12 inch squares are made of calico, all pre-cut and the edges pre stitched. They were given to participants to be designed according to the brief, ie: to be women, the suffragettes and incorporate the colours of the suffragette movement.

Many different designs were made and a huge variety of materials used. Many were embellished with political messages about women's rights.

The name of each participant is printed on a label on the reverse of the banner.

'The coming together during the workshops forged new friendships and increased our membership’. - Jilly, WA member

Made in Roath Group Workshop Collaging, From the collection of: Artichoke Trust
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Made in Roath Workhop Little Girl Painting, From the collection of: Artichoke Trust
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Oriel Myrddin Group Workshop, From the collection of: Artichoke Trust
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Credits: Story

PROCESSIONS was produced by Artichoke and commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and the Department for DigitalCulture Media and Sport.

Creative Director: Darrell Vydelingum. R&D supported by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch).

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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Road to Equality
Celebrating the stories behind 100 years of women's rights in the UK
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