I’ve been involved with a very interesting project just recently and I thought I’d like to share it with you and get some wider perspectives.
Every other week I go to a coffee morning with a group of mainly Christian women, the group has been going about 8 years but I joined just a year ago. It is one of my favourite things to do as the women and opinions in the group are very diverse but all equally supportive. Each time we meet there tends to be a topic that we will research or discuss and it is good to have a focus for the session and be challenged. In the year that I’ve been a part of the group we have discussed so many subjects - vulnerability, many aspects of parenting, sexualisation of young girls, the place of Food Banks in the community and in October we had a guest artist who came and discussed domesticity and the role of women with us.
Vanessa Marr has been working on her Domestic Dusters project for quite some time and it was very interesting to hear from her. She has created some amazing pieces of embroidery all on old fashioned dusters. She wanted to take something that was normally very mundane and used for a practical purpose and simply adorn it to create a narrative and explore the subjects of domesticity and women’s roles.
Vanessa told us how it was very common place in times gone by for a group of woman like us to sit together and sew or craft as they spent time chattering about the minutiae’s of their lives. She talked of these women being story tellers and this was how fables and fairy stories were captured and told through the ages. Vanessa made bound some beautiful books full of poems and stories and also created samplers with intricate patterns to go with those writings.
At the end of the session she asked us if we wished to create a duster to capture our concept of domesticity and women’s roles. Most of us agree we would and since then a few of us have been found to stitch as we meet together to discuss other topics.
Below is my creation, it is not at all perfect but I quite like that about it. When I first thought about domesticity all that came to mind was domestic bliss and how grateful I am for the life changes that I’ve experienced in the last couple of years. I feel more content and at peace. I feel like I have time to do the things God wants me to do and to develop and deepen my relationship with Him.
I love my home and it is part of my ministry to create a place that is secure and comfortable for my family and those who come to join us. If you know me from this blog You’ll know I like to speak from the heart and thus the blog name, so it seemed natural to me to create my duster with the saying ‘Home is where the heart is’. If I’d had more time and been a more skilled sewer I would have put the following verse at the bottom of the duster, as it is what underpins our family.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Josuha 24:15
I’ve sent my finished duster off to Vanessa, along with a short paragraph of text to be included in an exhibition she is having at the end of February in Eastbourne. The exhibition is open to all, so if you think you might fancy it, go along.
What I want to know is, am I alone in viewing domesticity as a positive state? Some of my friends who have sewed dusters had a more negative connotation and the discussions we had the day Vanessa was with us were all about how the burden falls to women, we try to be superwoman and men need to embrace it more.
So what does domesticity mean to you?
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