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Found Feminism: Patchwork of the Century

2011 July 12
by Sarah Jackson

This is found feminism only in the sense that I found it entirely by accident. I was waiting to meet my dining companion for dim sum on the South Bank (yes, I know…) and when they texted to say they were going to be another half an hour I went for a wander. Finding myself in the Southbank Centre‘s exhibition about the Festival of Britain in 1951 (it’s in the basement) I was delighted to come across a wonderful artwork, the Patchwork of the Century.

Designed by Lillian Dring with contributions from some of the 80 women who helped to make it (who had no previous experience of needlework) it’s quite beautiful, to my eyes. Even more so when I learned the whole thing was made from scraps of old uniforms, tablecloths and blackout fabric.

It was originally part of a Women of the Century exhibition in Twickenham in 1951, and includes some feminist historical landmarks such as (obviously) women winning the vote, but also the opening of Girton College and women’s contribution to both world wars. Pioneering nurse and humanitarian Edith Cavell has her own patch.

Next time you’re down that way pop into the exhibition and have a look, it’s worth it.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Sarah J permalink*
    July 12, 2011

    Sorry the pictures aren’t great, I only had my phone with me. There’s a better picture in this Design Week article

    • Miranda permalink*
      July 12, 2011

      I like your pics. They’re in-the-moment. They’re INTREPID, innit.

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