Knitting feminism with Helen Sat 17 June Manchester

pic by Ruth Kerfoot

The Cut Cloth programme, curated by Sarah-Joy Ford, is going to be amazing. It’s an exhibition, publication and series of workshops that examine the role of textiles within contemporary feminist art practices. Events are taking place throughout June & July

The Louise Da-Cocodia craftivist crochet mask is featured in the exhibition 🙂

It launches at Portico Library next Friday 9th June at 6:30pm. There’s an artist talk at 4 by Tilleke Schwarz as well.

More info here:

There is wine and we might all need it depending on the result of the election. We might all also need some feminist textiles.

ALSO I’m doing a knitting workshop on 17th June as part of it so put THAT in your diary and smoke it:

Helen x

Cut Cloth

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Last day of public vote to decide the ‘Our Emmeline’ statue design

30 March is the last chance to vote on the ‘Our Emmeline’ statue. The winning design will be announced by Andrew Simcock on 4 April 🙂  Visit the Womanchester Statue website to check out the designs & sculptors and cast your vote

OurEmmeline tweet

So back in 2014 we yarnbombed the man busts in Manchester Town Hall to celebrate some local historical women.

We thought it was a stitch up that Manchester’s public statues only celebrated the achievements of blokes (apart from Queen Victoria through accident of birth) and thought it was about time they championed some inspiring women. 

We were super chuffed when Councillor Andrew Simcock announced that, partly inspired by our craftivism, he was going to set about raising funds for a permanent statue of a woman.  

To kick start the fundraising for the statue, Andrew Simcock did an epic Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle ride. Each day was dedicated to one of the 20 women on the statue long list. The public voted to immortalise Emmeline Pankhurst  in statue form, and then Andrew Simcock put a call out for sculptors and designs, visiting artists across the country.

Six miniatures were cast, and have been on show for the past month around Manchester. We went to check them out & vote at Manchester Art Gallery – it was a hard choice. Looking forward to finding out next week which design has been selected.

Follow @OurEmmeline on twitter for latest news, and check out the project website:

Womanchester March 2017



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Voting for #Womanchester statue

Which woman of achievement  should be immortalised in statue form in Manchester? 

The Womanchester Statue is the brainchild of Councillor Andrew Simcock, who in turn was part inspired by our Stature town hall crochet yarnbombing 🙂

It’s ace that his project has got Manchester talking about the achievements of some amazing local women – earlier this month BBC North West tonight featured profiles of the final six women on the shortlist.

BBC NW final 6 pic

The poll closes tonight, so get your skates on if you want to cast your vote:

Ride 11 June in Mcr 2


In June this year, to kick start the fundraising for the statue, Andrew Simcock did an epic Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle ride.

Each day was dedicated to one of the 20 women on the original statue long list, and we tweeted a mini biog of the woman of the day:



1 Sunny Lowry

Sunny Lowry


2 Shena Simon

Shena Simon

3 Margaret Downes

Margaret Downes

4 Lydia becker

Lydia Becker

5 Marie stopes

Marie Stopes

6 Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst


7 kathleen ollerenshaw

Kathleen Ollerenshaw


8 Esther Roper

Esther Roper


9 Emily williamson rspb

Emily Williamson


10 Annie horniman

Annie Horniman


11 ellen wilkinson

Ellen Wilkinson


12 Christabel Pankhurst

Christabel Pankhurst

13 Olive Shapley

Olive Shapley

14 Mary Quaile

Mary Quaile


15 Sylvia Pankhurst

Sylvia Pankhurst


16 Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell


17 Enriqueta rylands

Enriqueta Rylands


18 Louise DaCocodia

Louise DaCocodia


19 Elizabeth Raffald

Elizabeth Raffald


20 Margaret Ashton

Margaret Ashton

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WoManchester statue project launch – Thursday 28 May Central Library


women17 update

Last year councillor Andrew Simcock contacted us to say that partly inspired by our Stature Town Hall craftivism yarnbombing he was seeking permission from the council to commission a statue honouring a women of significance to Manchester

Plans are moving along, and this Thursday, 28 May, it’s the official launch of the WoManchester statue project. Pop down to Manchester Central Library Performance Space from 6pm.

Womanchester statue project launch

17 of the women shortlisted to be immortalized in statue form were announced in March. They are a fabulously varied bunch including a lesbian defender of barmaids; an anti-racisim campaigner & a channel swimmer.

The final 3 women on the shortlist will be revealed on Thursday, & Andrew Simcock will be giving details of his epic Lands End to John O’Groats statue fundraising cycle ride, and launching the project website.

See you Thursday!

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Helen Davies – exhibition Chorlton Arts Festival – final weekend!

Remember our Stature Project where we yarnbombed man statues in Manchester Town Hall with crochet masks of amazing Mancunian women?

Well artist Helen Davies who made the epic women masks has an exhibition at The Make it Shop in Chorlton, part of Chorlton Arts Festival. This weekend is final few days of exhibition, so get your skates on to 488 Wilbraham Road, M21 9AS 🙂

On show is the crochet mask representing feisty Sylvia Pankhurst; the Venus of Custard which had a star role in Bob & Roberta Smith’s Art Party film; and some ace little monsters

Helen is an artist specialising in needlecrafts; she is interested in the social history of craft and women.

Helenmakes making

Helenmakes making






Venus of Custard

Venus of Custard






Sylvia Pankhurst

Sylvia Pankhurst


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Bigging-up Esther & Eva with massive magnetic poetry

As part of the LGF’s Sugar & Spice women’s weekend, we ran a workshop bigging-up historical lesbian couple Eva Gore Booth & Esther Roper.

We wanted to test the water to see if people would be up for commissioning a permanent memorial to the dynamic duo.  The resounding answer was yes, and it was great to hear so many people passionate about these women’s lives.

Esther Roper and Eva Gore-Booth

Beth Knowles & I discussed Esther & Eva’s impact on Manchester: how they taught factory workers in the Roundhouse building in Ancoats; & their flamboyant Barmaid’s Defence League demo in Stevenson Square.

Eva Gore-Booth was an accomplished poet so Hilary Turley led a magnetic poetry session to get everyone chatting and celebrating Esther & Eva’s lives. OK Hilary had printed words out and we used blu-tak not magnetic words – but you get the idea :-).


Each group got their creative juices flowing, and in 15 mins came up with some ace wordy tributes.

Esther Eva workshop

One group was inspired by the Roundhouse, and came up with the idea of arranging their poem in a circle – see pic below – genius!

Eva & Esther working together,
campaigning for women
loving together, living together

The Roundhouse
remember one forever
in Stevenson Square

Eva Gore-Booth, Esther Roper
inspiring women together

Workshop poems

The second group penned a fantastic tribute to the work of Esther & Eva:

Esther, Eva & Sappho together
the exquisite lesbians lived
inspiring women with their gift

Remembering barmaids & flower sellers
Shouting out –
“we are equal to all the fellas!”

Education is your right,
March on all you women,
Sisters be active,
Weave your story, and have this fight

Come now look to education
Think of all our sisters who
died in this unjust nation.
Unity is strength & poetry is love

One workshop participant also managed to pen her own personal tribute to Esther & Eva, amazing!:

Esther & Eva.

Under an azure Italian sky,
They smiled, eyes wide,
A connection of the heart and soul,
Unity of thought, about a woman’s role.

Their fiery passion fuelled the fight
For freedom, justice and equal rights,
Eva and Esther a force for good,
told not to love, when they knew they should.

Head of their household, Queen of each other,
Activists, nurturers, suffragette lovers,
Passion and energy transforming the rest,
Esther and Eva simply the best!

By Rosie Adamson-Clark

Ursula HarriesIt was great to catch up with Ursula Harries who runs the Esther & Eva cycle tour around Manchester with Glynis Francis. They’re raising funds to get a plaque installed on Esther & Eva’s old home down Heald Place, Rusholme.

We want to set up an online fundraising campaign to support an Esther & Eva plaque & memorial, & will catch up next month to discuss. There will also be future workshops on Esther & Eva. So watch this space for updates 🙂

You can find out more about Esther & Eva in Sonja Tiernan’s ace book: Eva Gore-Booth, an image of such politics

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Still We Rise – exhibition & performance, People’s History Museum


Exhibition (9 – 22nd March) & performance (14 March, 12pm)

People’s History Museum, Manchester 

Shut Down Yarl's Wood

Last week a Channel 4 undercover investigation evidenced the state sanctioned abuse of women in Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre. These are issues that asylum seeking women have been speaking out about for years.

Over the past year SHUT DOWN YARL’S WOOD demonstrations led by Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST) and Manchester Migrant Solidarity (MISOL) with Safety4Sisters have taken over some of the main squares in Manchester, as women fight to get their voices heard.

Come and hear directly from women who have experienced the horrors of Yarl’s Wood, and their ongoing fight for justice and sanctuary.

Still We Rise flyer

WAST    MISOL     safety 4 sisters

Reserve your place for the performance on 14 March using Eventbrite

Shut Down Yarl's Wood banners

Exhibition curated by Jenny White of Warp & Weft.
Part of the Wonder Women Radical Manchester programme

Wonder Women


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