Blog of a veggie lady who can't stay in one place for too long, loves to dumpster dive, loves to craft and can rant about feminism for hours! Just little notes and photos from my travels and the qwirky, fun, arty and ridiculous things I've seen! (and things I've found in bins.)
I joined my local WI well over a year ago now when people were repeatedly telling me how great the Tea & Tarts are, I heard from various different people about how modern, how open minded and how much fun the group is. It was a really great decision, it’s a brilliant group of creative, energetic and brilliant women and we have a lot of fun. Plus, it got me out of the house and meeting new people without feeling overwhelmed which as a socially anxious person is always a worry!
A few months ago I joined the T&T committee as Mistress of the Crafts and have really enjoyed it so far. The only thing that has worried me so far is that a few times in committee meetings I’ve wanted to open up a discussion about trans* inclusion. I think as a modern WI it is really important that we make it a safe space for trans women and that we should have a policy that states this. However I’ve not brought it up yet out of the incredibly selfish worry that not everyone would agree and that I didn’t want to tarnish my view of this progressive group of people I respect and like a lot. (This has been an issue in the past with so called progressive groups that I’ve been a part of and have promptly left). Also because committee meetings are always tightly scheduled with a lot of talk about and if I got into a gender politics discussion, it may run on for hours! But I will be bringing this up.
Last night we had our monthly meeting and for International Women’s Day and had three inspiring speakers and it gave me more reasons to believe my WI is really the best!
Firstly we had Julie Tweedale from Freedom Personal Safety. Julie is part of a two person team teaching adults and children how to keep themselves safe. As a survivor of sexual violence she took a drastic career choice to help prevent other people experiencing what she went through as a teenager. Approximately 1 in 5 women will have experienced some form of sexual abuse in their life, and someone talking about keeping safe to a room full of women, many of who will have experienced this, is just something I think is really valuable.
The second guest was Carol Robson, a fabulous poet based in Rotherham. Carol writes poems on various different themes but mostly focuses on gender and sexuality and her experiences of finding herself and her gender identity. As well as poetry she spoke about LGBT issues and her experiences of transitioning in an honest an to the point way. Even as a progressive and modern WI, we are still, by majority, a group of cis straight women and I think having someone talk about these issues, which some in the group may not be so aware of, is completely invaluable. As a non-straight person currently with a boyfriend I have sometimes felt a bit uncomfortable in talking about these issues with the group.
The third speaker was Angela Towers from No More Page 3. She spoke to us about the campaign, what they’ve achieved and how they campaign along with the issues behind page 3 and the effect it has on us as a society. When you think about it, page 3 really is a ridiculous misogynist dinosaur and it is shocking that it still exists. It was really inspiring and following it I think a few of us who agree will be doing some campaigning. It was also the most swears we’ve ever had in a meeting, which I’m never adverse to!
Don’t really know where I was going with all of this. Just that it was a really empowering and inspiring evening.
And then I went and got drunk in my friends art space and talked about queer culture. Good night!
On Saturday I ran a wet felting workshop as part of my Mistress of the Crafts duties! It went pretty well and everyone who came along was super lovely and left with unique finished pieces. I got the wool tops from World of Wool just outside of Huddersfield, which is an amazing place! There’s so many different ways to wet felt, but this us how I do it: -But down a thin layer of felt tops lying vertical on a sheet of bubble wrap. -Put down a layer of horizontal felt tops. -Repeat until it looks evenly covered, maybe about 5 layers. -Spray with a soapy hot water mixture. -Put a sheet of bubble wrap on top. -Press down to encourage the water into the felt tops (felt is water resistant so it can take some persuading!) and gently massage. -Turn felt over and wet some more, massage. -After a while of soft massaging you can put more oomf in! If it dries up, put more water down. -Once it’s started to matt together roll up the whole thing (like rolling sushi! Keep it tight) and roll back and forth. -It should start to shrink. If you pinch it and fibres come off you need to massage and roll some more. If it’s well felted together, rinse out and turn it into something lovely!