Thursday, 12 November 2020

‘For better; for worse’ Amy Atkin lace mats

I’ve had a busy week writing about my response to the life and work of the first Nottingham machine lace designer, Amy Atkin, who although very successful had to give up work on marriage. The idea for using lace mats came from the work of the second wave feminist Judy Chicago who used place settings for famous women in her monumental installation ‘The Dinner Party’. She used complete place settings for her guests but I’ve just made place mats for Amy Atkin. Each one includes a strip of lace inspired by her lace designs, but only tacked in place, to show how easily women’s careers can be taken away from them and that domestic duties still have a huge influence on women’s lives. Each one also has part of the wording from the marriage service embroidered on it ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer’ to reference the fact that she had to give up work when she married. Studying Amy Atkin’s life and lace designs, feminism, and the work of Judy Chicago has been interesting and making a practice based response seemed the appropriate approach to the research so writing about it is a great way to pull all those strands together.

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