Fabric dolls would seem to be among the most
innocuous of fabric crafts. Yet this small display
demonstrates that even usually benign fabric
crafts can be political both in their processes
and product. The process of creating these dolls
can be politicising for women.
I created Ginger, who carries protest signs in
support of pay equity, in an all-woman?s workshop
in which individuals? skills, experimentation,
creativity and imagination were mutually
encouraged, respected and celebrated. This was in
strong contrast to the competitive and
male-dominated discourses outside that classroom.
In everyone?s doll, humour was a key element and
seemed to be a coded ?naughty? reaction to some
un-stated restrictions. Ginger was greeted with
surprise, for she broke the ?rules? of doll
making. None-the less, she was greeted with
approval, laughter and endorsement. All my ?dolls?
have elicited mixed reactions outside the
workshop-from confusion at my involvement as a
feminist in the activity, to admiration of the
skills as understood by women who sew, or wish
they could, to bewilderment by men who can?t crack
the coded woman-to-woman messages in the dolls.