The upcoming exhibition The Craftswoman's Club draws inspiration from the Craftsman's Club minute books held within the Birmingham City university Art and Design Archive.
Formed in 1902 with the object of establishing a high standard of craftsmanship in Birmingham. It was founded by Robert Catterson Smith (then Headmaster of Birmingham School of Art), C. Napier-Flavering and J. E. Southall and early members included H. A. Payne, A. J. Gaskin, C. M. Gere and W. H. Bidlake.
Only men were permitted to attend and they had to be established practicing artists and/or craftsman "of approved accepted method". These included painters, jewellers, goldsmiths, silversmiths, sculptors, architects and draughtsman.
The fact that women were totally excluded from the original group has sparked the formation of The Craftswoman's Club as an imagined alternative. When looking through the original minute books I came across the set of rules that determined how the club was to be run including the never explicit but inherent 'No Women'. To me they appeared as commandments that completely obscured women's involvement in the arts.
Using these original rules as a guide I have started to develop a series of silk screen prints that focus on these 'commandments' presenting them as decorative adornments as to how The Craftswoman's club is to be run. Inverting the 'no women' to 'only women'.