THE SCHOOL GIRL

Artist 1: Rachael Howard
Artist 2: Su Chacewicz/Robert Bluett
Artist 3: Barbara Meynell

Textiles x4

Stage 1: Rachael Howard
I made a series of sketches based on a 1970’s British council housing estate. The drawings depict everyday life on the housing estate; people walking their dogs, kids climbing walls and swinging from lamp posts, and as in the sketch for School Girl, kids playing with sticks. The original sketch was screen-printed onto cloth and fleshed out using various appliquéd fabrics, and then machine embroidered with some hand stitching. The School Girl is brandishing a stick and looks quite inhospitable. Why does she appear to be so aggressive and how could one make friends with her?

I was excited to find out how the other artists would respond to School Girl, she wasn’t very friendly looking, so I was intrigued as to how she would be tackled.

Stage 2: Su Chacewicz /Robert Bluett
We were quite shocked at how inhospitable the School Girl was. This really made us question what Hospitality was about. We entered into a dialogue about the subject matter and explored in more depth the person behind the uniform particularly in relation to adolescence and stereotypes. This led to the production of mirror images of the girl stripped bare holding an olive branch of peace, and then a parallel piece of art of the girl masked and holding a gun. These portraits of the same person in different guises still appeared very inhospitable and shocking.

Stage 3: Barbara Meynell
I was shocked by the hostility emanating from these powerful pieces, and my immediate question was, ‘would you give hospitality to these women?’ After much thought, I decided to turn around their ‘vibes’ in a fun way. ‘Eve’ has olives in a dish beside her as a sign of welcome. She is dressed for the occasion and her man is waiting beside the fire. In the second piece these olives have been eaten, leaving only the pips. To her horror, the pan is on fire, the chop burning. But this is the ‘Happy Days Hotel’, so guests are unaware of the disaster happening in the kitchen. The third woman has flowers in her gun, diffusing her aggressive stance.

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