A Woman's Work is Never Done|A Woman's Work is Never Done | HMP Styal and NT Quarry Bank Mill2017
Commissioned by Quarry Bank Mill, central to this project was the collaboration between two artists; one in prison, and one out of prison - me. We worked together to create two pieces; one to be exhibited at the Mill, the other to be donated to the prison.
As the lead artists, one of our aims was to reach out to other women at HMP Styal to encourage their participation and their contribution. In our conversations, we found parallels in what we experienced as women, prisoners, and artists, when confronted with limited resources; we are very practical, creative and productive. We found that this experience often went unnoticed both by us and the larger community and created a gap in the full picture of what we contribute.
I was told that women in prison are incredibly creative with one of the free resources they have in prison; sanitary ware. They created a list of some of the uses, and we made artwork out of the resource.
Here is the list they made for the exhibit;
• Used to create sheep for an artwork
• Used as insoles in boots and shoes
• Used on windows and doors to stop them from banging
• Used to put foundation on
• Used on the feet when cleaning the floor
• Used on mirrors for a streak free shine
• The insides used with rizlas to make filter tips
• The insides used as snow on the windows at Christmas
• Used to revive a broken lighter
• Used to apply blusher
• Used to dress wounds
• Used on partitions to stop coats from falling
• Used on windows to block out light
• Used to spin a taper
We decided to use sanitary ware as our art material.
The artwork highlights and celebrates this rich vein of resourcefulness demonstrated by women, be they mothers, artists, prisoners or scientists.
This artwork was site specific and is now part of Quarry Bank Mill’s collection.
Artist Pam Armstrong also kindly contributed two pieces that she created from tampons.