By Kaitlyn Munro
With the recent release of “Suffragette”, a movie that follows a woman who gets involved with the British suffrage movement, we have had our minds on women’s right to vote. What about the movement on our home turf in the United States?
We recently had the privilege to work on two banners belonging to the National Woman’s Party Textile Collection at the Sewall-Bellmont House and Museum (which we also strongly encourage you all to go and check out). They are going out on loan to be a part of an exhibit called Agitprop! being shown in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist art at the Brooklyn Museum December 2015-August 2016. The banners were used by the National Woman’s party during picketing, protests, and demonstrations in their fight for women’s suffrage from 1913-1920. They were created to get their point across.
Both banners are made with gold cotton sateen and have purple lettering. These contrasting colors which were chosen to represent the American suffrage movement are bold and eye-catching. Gold was first used by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony during a campaign in Kansas to help pass a state suffrage referendum in 1867. The lettering is simply painted on as opposed to an applique process which would have taken more time to complete. They were not made to look pretty or show needlework skill in their creation.
We felt empowered while we had these hanging in the studio!