Ahead of her part in the upcoming Woman's Work exhibition in September at AirSpace and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Steph Rushton is in residence with us researching gender roles in the Potteries. Steph will be blogging throughout her Residency.
More info on her residency Looking at the Overlooked can be found here.
Steph’s research findings have lead her towards creating more resolved decisions as to her approach to making a new photographic series for Women’s Work. Archive material juxtaposed with contemporary environmental portraits raises questions on both progress and stagnant attitudes.
Women, identity and environment are the connecting themes of the photographic element of this project, which is looking at the work and creativity of Potteries women, of the past, present and future.
What does woman’s work look like now?
Now that we have the ability to be autonomously creative, largely freed from the shackles of gender and class inequality that have suppressed women for centuries. Where do shifts lie? And where do attitudes remain unchanged?
In all of the images the environment is important, conveying a back story to the portraits, providing visual clues about the historical subtext; forming part of the hidden narratives, which are concerned with the collapse of the pottery industry, regeneration and global issues of sustainability.
"I had absolutely no preparation for the wasteland of demolition and destruction and abandonment that had been left behind. And I fell deeply in love with it." Emma Bridgewater talking about the Potteries at the Hay Festival.