pockets and a hat

The twitter hashtag #WOMENSART brought to my attention the poem Dangerous Coats by Sharon Owens linked to a surveillance photograph of suffragette Olive Beamish from 1914. In this linocut I don’t capture her facial likeness but I have explored textures of the coat with large pockets.

Here are a range of sketches I undertook.

From Wikipedia I learned of the Cat and Mouse Act passed by the Liberal government, legislation designed to thwart the suffragettes on hunger strike in prison.

In her poem Sharon Owens equates “sedition”, at that time, with commonsense, fairness, kindness, equality. Faced with a law-breaking, lying, callous, killing government, we may all need pockets to promote these values.

29 responses to “pockets and a hat

    • As always you pick out stuff I’d not seen in my own art but now will watch out for. These emotions are accidental as I groped for the sense of the original photo, but now I want to explore emotions through this approach, repeating the same drawing but changing the expression.

      • I’ve got another cork in progress. A couple of people I respect and follow on Twitter gave permission to use a photo of them together. It’s brilliant, strong textures of hair and one wearing a coarse knit jumper, great for print making. But it’s proved very hard and the first cut failed. I have to rethink the image from scratch. Good learning stuff though.

      • I assume you meant to say ‘work’ in progress… damned keyboards! What do you cut with? Standard lino cutting tools? I once knew a bloke who did multi-coloured prints, using hardboard, … sometimes they failed, but when they worked the images looked splendid! (He was influenced by what he saw in Mexico, after a visit there… bright colours no doubt.) I recently joined Twitter, just a few weeks ago! Checking stuff out! Strange place!

      • Find me there. I’m also called kestrelart I think. I mainly use it for political activism. Yes I’ve a set of hood tools and using lino for now. I’m still working small and I don’t have a proper press but may extend this soon.

      • Yes, I noticed, there is a lot of politics there… I was once with Facebook but gave them up and don’t miss them at all. Yes, Twitter, it seems it’s a place for politicians of every shade and hue, including armchair ones lol And most of them I can’t abide… though sometimes I have seen some humour! And then there is the celebrity area of Twitter, the latterday Jetset or whatever, famous pop stars, and so on… well you know better then me, you’ve been there a couple of years I see. I’m using a pseudonym… I keep away from politics as far as possible… my stance is somewhat libertarian / anarchistic and I am NOT politically correct!!! Lol. Well, sounds like you’re setting up an arts and crafts movement in B’ham, in the footsteps of what’shisname??? Oh Jesus, my memory! Working with your hands, (holding a palette and a paintbrush can’t be regarded as handicraft,) is very satisfying. I was trained as a sculptor but I am too skinny and weedy to lu big lumps of wood and stone about…. mind you most modern sculptors get assistants to do the hard graft ! Bye for now!

      • I don’t follow celebrities at all. I joined in the Labour leadership election, following all the MPs to work out who to support. That went well …
        Now I follow “progressive” politicians and people across parties. I’d like an alliance to eject this corrupt incompetent government and that needs grass roots action. Otherwise we’ll slide into fascism. That’s the limit of my politics though. I am with you, I don’t want government or officials to run our lives. I’m probably more politically correct though :-).

      • Well, there’s not much to choose between any of them… they’re overpaid and just make a mess of everything… the only intelligent one I have come across in recent times is Rory Stewart ! But I only have a soft spot for him on account of the speech he gave a while back on the hedgehog!!! Probably the most brilliant speech of the last 50 years. That dreadful Johnson bloke fancies himself as a Winston Churchill: the less said about both of them the better! As for that odious cretin Tony Blair, and his American chum, George W, should the pair of them be behind bars serving sentences for their war crimes? Anyway, rant over! Lol. God knows how much it costs the country to keep all these useless b**tards in their privileged jobs, expense accounts and all… the older I get the more I realise what a confidence trick government is… Best wishes! Night night!

      • I’ll be happy if we just get the current bunch of clowns out. They all go bad I agree. It’s the process that counts, the fact that we can hold them to account and dump them. That’s why I’m active now: it’s the process that’s under threat.

      • Can we though? I wonder. Isn’t it the Murdochs and their likes that make the decisions for the bewildered herd? It’s also possible that the process is part of the problem rather than a solution !

      • Who is this bloke Keir Starmer BTW? Which hole did he crawl out of? I had to laugh at that incident in Bath when some pub landlord or other reared up on him… although his thuggish minders are no joke.

      • I respectfully disagree. Galloway is an opportunistic divisive turd, corbyn a principled honest man. He’s flawed and proved a poor leader, maybe just not that clever, but he’s a mile away from Galloway.

      • I agree with what you say about Galloway. Are you old enough to remember the time Michael Foot was leader? My mother adored him. He was something of an intellectual and a great speaker but the gutter press used its influence to got him thrown out pronto.

      • Of course. I liked Foot too. My Labour membership goes back to supporting Callaghan. I worked against the right wing unions and hard line militant tendency in the eighties, supported Kinnock and campaigned overturning seats for Labour in 92 and 97. Then I lost interest and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars soured me. I liked Milliband but Corbyn put hope in me again. This was intelligent forward looking politics. But he did not have the charisma or skill to get the PLP or party managers to support him. He was sabotaged. I hoped Starmer would do better. So far not so much …

      • I think the reason Corbyn got sabotaged can be put down to the friction, some of it extreme, between the Muslims and the Jewish in the UK. He was looking for support (votes) from the various large Muslim communities across the country and of course the Jewish people, some very influential, saw a kind-of anti-Semitism at work. This is my reading of the situation. Thus his downfall. The Jews are long-established in the UK and wield a great deal of power. Also the Israel-Palestine-Iran etc problem is constantly going on… thus his demise.

      • No I disagree completely. The reason he failed is that didn’t go looking for anyone’s votes. He is a long standing campaigner for peace and justice. He stridently opposed the apartheid of the Israeli state and supported Palestinian rights as a matter of principle. That is tied up with Zionism and British Jewish spirituality (though this is more complex and nuanced than is made out). It is hard to disentangle opposing Israel from ani semitism, and there is a particular history of anti-Semitism on the left, just as there is a more obvious mainstream and right wing one. It proved a good weapon with which to toxify him. Starmer by contrast is chasing votes, suppressing all criticism of Israel in case this re activates the anti semitism charge, until a by election with a large Muslim population. Is this clever calculated approach working? I suspect people see I as insincere snd cowardly and is undermining not helping him.

      • I think also, like Kinnock, he assumed he (Corbyn) had ‘the people’ behind him! He assumed the vote was won! Big mistake. The phrase “apartheid of the Israeli state” is popular but the notion is debateable. The use of the word “apartheid” by protesters and also “racist” by same is to my mind a deplorable simplification. For me I think of poor little Israel surrounded by states that would, if they got the bomb, drop it on her. But that’s enough from me on the matter… the issue is too complex… no doubt it will go on. Whether it will ever be resolved is anyone’s guess.

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