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School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

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Cut Cloth project launched by alumna Sarah-Joy Ford

June 8th, 2017

Heart shaped glasses (Sophie King)

A new Arts Council funded project exploring contemporary textiles and feminism has been launched by BA Fine Art alumna Sarah-Joy Ford.

Cut Cloth is an exhibition, publication and series of workshops that examine the shifting role of textiles within contemporary feminist art practices. The project contemplates the rise in popularity of art textiles and its impact on its value as a specifically feminist mode of expression.

Once a belittled and marginalized medium, it was a radical act (in itself) to bring women’s work into the gallery space. Artists looked to both subvert and celebrate textiles in order to disrupt the very femininities that it played a role in constructing.

This project of reclamation and elevation is by no means finished ― textiles still sit in an ambiguous space between art, craft, private and public space. However the increasing popularity and commercialisation of textiles, and of feminism in art and culture, must be reflected upon.

Cut Cloth looks toward strategies that respond to these new challenges, drawing upon feminist legacies whilst acknowledging the shifting politics of cloth in contemporary culture.

The project is led by Sarah-Joy Ford and is supported by Arts Council England, The Portico Library and The Whitworth Art Gallery. A programme of events has been planned for the coming months, starting with an exhibition in The Portico Library from 9 June to 5 July.

Sarah-Joy graduated with a BA Fine Art from the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies in 2015. Sarah-Joy said of her new project:

“This project comes from a desire to investigate, challenge and contribute to the discourses of art textiles and feminism that shape my own practice.

Cut Cloth project image“The exhibition showcases a diverse range of feminist approaches to textiles from established international artists including Orly Cogan, Tilleke Schwarz and Wendy Huhn, alongside emerging practitioners such as Sophie King and recent Woon prize winner Rebecca Halliwel Sutton.

“The publication aims to reflect on these intersectional feminisms that engage specifically contemporary contexts and challenges whilst gesturing toward the radical strategies of the future; digital methodologies, cultural ambiguity, queer futurism and nastiness. Writers include international feminist textile and feminist theorists such as Professor Janis Jefferies, Dr Alexandra Kokoli. The publication will also feature an interview between Lubaina Himid and Dr Christine Checinska.”

See here for more information.

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