Thursday, 14 February 2013

Glass Ceilings and Just Deserts

No-one could accuse women in architecture of being shrinking violets, yet apparently they are still not getting their just deserts, according to Architects’ Journal.  All this metaphorical talk of ‘glass ceilings’ and fair and due rewards was swimming around in my brain last weekend, while under my own physical glass ceiling in the greenhouse.  Cleaning is supposed to be cathartic, but such items in the media only serve to make my greenhouse cleaning more vigorous, to think this inequality still exists and in a supposedly enlightened profession like architecture.  

I suppose when you think back, though, it’s not that long (in terms of geological time!)  since my grandmother’s generation of women were first deemed sufficiently intelligent and discerning to vote.  Are we asking too much to expect pay equality inside three generations? Personally I don’t think so, but  perhaps our craft sector is one in which artistic merit and skill reap rewards more equitably for both men and women.  All that vigorous cleaning, prior to planting this year’s vegetable seeds, reaped rewards for me too:  a few fleeces were found hiding under the workbench – the last available place for storage! 

These were the more time-consuming fleeces to process, such as a beautiful but tangled Leicester LongWool.  The best of last summer’s fleeces, from the Farm Animal Sanctuary, are already washed, some are dyed, and are waiting for use.  They will have to wait a few more days though, until after Textiles in Focus, which opens in Cottenham, nr Cambridge tomorrow.  Three of us from our local spinning group are exhibiting, myself, Clare of Boo’s Attic and Lesley of FibreTastic, with her amazing wool necklaces. 

Producing craft products on a small, part-time scale, will never allow us to gain the bulk discounts from suppliers that would gain us anything other than diminutive just deserts for the effort involved, especially in a still-recessionary market.   But then perhaps we do if for more than just fiscal reward.  The extreme detail and technical skill that goes into some of the works of textile art on the FibreFusion stand opposite mine at the show would put top couturiers  to shame.  Yet they’re not after millions or board directorships, they’re primarily after satisfying their creative instincts.  Here’s wishing you a week of fulfilling your own creative instincts, and if you’re coming to Textiles in Focus, do come and say hello. 

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