Stitching Women’s Lives: Sujuni and Khatwa from Bihar, India
By Dr. Skye Morrison, 1999
“Art is the most human of things. Based in the genetic, in the creative intelligence and the nimble body, art is a potential in every individual. Nurtured in social experience, taught, learned, and bent against circumstance, art is a reality in every culture. Always unifying what analysis divides, art is personal and collective, intellectual and sensual, inventive and conventional, material and spiritual, useful and beautiful, a compromise between will and conditions. Art is, given the storms and pains and limited resources, the best that can be done.” (Glassie, 1997, p.1)
“The low status of women in large segments of Indian society cannot be raised without the opening up of opportunities of independent employment and income from them. The Working Group on Employment of Women, 1978, had pointed out, ‘a policy of promotion of women’s employment has to go hand in hand with the broader social policy of strengthening women’s participatory roles and their ability to exercise their rights with autonomy and dignity.’ Otherwise, ‘the increased employability of women will only further increase the load on women and reduce them to mere beasts of burden.’” (Banerjee, 1991, p.133)
These two quotes represent the boundaries of the exhibition Stitching Women’s Lives: sujuni and khatwa from Bihar, India. The intersection of art and commerce, the opportunity to create meaningful work that takes the maker out of the cycle of poverty and invisibility, and the wish to have this work seen as artistic expression have all played their part in presenting the work of women from Bihar to the world.
This story begins in 1996 when Dorothy Caldwell and I travelled to India on a textile research trip. In Bihar’s capital city of Patna, and then in the village of Bhusara, we discovered textile art forms based on traditional practices that transcended time and space. Dorothy and I arrived in Patna in February of 1997. We were taken to Mahila Harit Kala (Eco-Friendly Store), the retail shop of Adithi (a women’s self-help co-operative), where we saw our first sujuni. We jumped at the chance to visit the villages where they were made. We visited the sharecroppers, fisher women and sujuni workers in the small villages and began to understand the integrated approach that Adithi took to the development of sustainable livelihoods. Before we returned home we were certain of two things: one, we wanted to have an exhibition of sujuni and khatwa at The Museum for Textiles in Canada and two, we wanted more people in India to appreciate this work as art.
In 1998 I returned to Patna and Bhusara, ordered 20 sujunis and five khatwas and carried them back to Canada. Also in 1998, the Asia Society of New York received funding from the Ford Foundation to hold a sujuni exhibition in New York City. This exhibition emphasized the role of women in the community and highlighted local issues that affected their lives. In 1999, my now annual trip to India included a trip with sujuni artists to Mumbai (formerly Bombay) for an exhibition of their work and an extended trip to Bihar to complete research and documentation.
Sujuni and Khatwa sources
“In traditional wall paintings of Mithila (a region of north Bihar with an ancient practice of women painting the walls of the nuptial chamber), the act of drawing has always been separate from that of painting. An outline was first drawn and colours filled in subsequently; the whole tradition of painting in Mithila may therefore be described as ‘coloured drawings.’” (Jain, 1997, p.130)
Bhusara, the village where sujuni was developed, is less than 100 kilometres away from the centre of Mathila and its painting traditions. sujunis are created using a similar process: the drawing is separate from the stitching, or the colouring-in. One person draws the design while many other hands complete the stitching. The new tradition of sujunis can therefore be described as stitched drawings. Similarly, khatwas use one woman’s drawings of the figures and the landscape; then, scraps of coloured cloth are appliquéd onto the drawing and stitching is completed overtop of the bold piecing. These are known as stitched-and-filled drawings.
The figurative and domestic imagery on sujunis and khatwas relates to Mathila and Madhubani painting in both form and content. Figures are rounded, filled with patterned cloth, and given movement through the interplay of two- and three-dimensional space. Everyday objects such as chulha (stoves), hasiya (chopping knives), and a multitude of pots and pans abound. Instructive drawings of men and women in the nuptial chamber (a vital aspect of Mathila and Madhubani painting) are found in sujunis and khatwasas examples of the dangers of unprotected sex leading to AIDS. sujunis and khatwas borrow from the private world of religious art and take it to the public marketplace. Just as Mathila painting expanded the life of individual Bihari women, sujuni and khatwatextiles permit the women of Bhusara and Patna to leave their homes, travel around India, and even represent their work abroad.
Work and Art
“The old symbols, images, myths and legends now reappear in the works of these artists, in new roles, often acting as pictorial or poetic metaphors resulting in amazing artistic transformations The resources harnessed in this search for new visual forms and vocabulary include the artists’ observation of nature and contemporary life around them including impressions gathered from theatrical performances, cinema, textbook illustrations and calendars. These are not transplanted as collages (this may also happen once in a while) but are translated into their own pictorial idiom making their works at once products of their own contemporary existence.” (Jain, 1998, p.14)
The British High Commission and the Ford Foundation in Delhi were the first to commission sujunis in the late 1980s. They ordered a series of wall hangings depicting observations and reflections of the lives of the women of Bhusara. It appears foreigners were dictating many of the designs in these early works, insofar as they were asking for images of happy villagers, boy children (when the women were concerned more about girls), and the romantic pastorals of village life. These first works and some of the current production are politically safe and highly decorative. As knowledge of sujuni work grows, more people are becoming interested in these pieces as a form of pictorial commentary on contemporary popular culture.
While the problems of female infanticide and dowry death continue to affect the community, the women of the village are encountering many new life experiences. Health workers from the World Health Organization come to Bhusara to talk to them about AIDS and show them how to use condoms. Access to radio, movies and television gives the women many topics to discuss, including literacy, politics, women as role models and the hectic pace of urban life. The physical environment, whether rural or urban, profoundly affects the quality of their lives, so it is frequently a source of inspiration. As the women have success with their work, and it becomes more central to their lives, sujunis about sujunis and khatwas about khatwas appear more frequently. The women draw and stitch images about these subjects through their own interpretations of the world.
Members of the Bhusara co-operative come frequently to Patna and Delhi where they are exposed to other groups of working women and other markets for their work. From five workers at the start of Mahila Vikas Sahayog Samit (MVSS) (Women’s Co-operative Development Organization), there are now over 350 workers stitching for all or part of their income. The khatwa group is smaller and newer. They are beginning to work on a design repertoire by working together at Mahila Harit Kala. Since they are part of a complex urban life, the community of khatwa makers is not as closely knit as the sujuni makers.
The more time I spend with these women, the more I realize they are listening to the ideas and inspirations of others and then interpreting them with their own images. Two examples of this are the “Cow Dung” sujuni and the “Hawkers and Vendors”khatwa. In 1998, I took a copy of the National Film Board of Canada’s documentary Who’s Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies & Global Economics to Patna. Earlier that year, Marilyn Waring had given a brilliant talk at The Humane Village, an international industrial design conference in Toronto. The topic of this talk was cow dung as an industrially designed product:
“I have watched women in many parts of the world following herds of animals to scoop up steaming dung in their bare hands, placing it in woven baskets which they then hoist onto their heads and carry. The loads they bend for, lift and carry are very heavy, and the work is very tiring. In the context of the lives of these women, dung is not a summer city-garden rescuer; access to it is a matter of daily survival. In addition to providing fertilizer, it is a primary source of cooking fuel and is also used as a building material and plaster.” (Waring, 1996, p.45)
“Dung is not a primary product, whatever we might have assumed in the past. Dung itself appears to be taken for granted as a ‘free gift of nature’ Nowhere have I found it recorded with milk, skins, meat, or animal by-products in a nation’s livestock production accounts, or recorded in energy production accounts. In addition, we will not find the hours women spend in gathering, transporting, cooking with, processing, manufacturing from, or decorating with it recorded as work.” (Waring, 1996, p.47)
Wishing to see what the women thought of Ms. Waring, we arranged an evening at the home of Viji Srinivasan (the renowned social worker and crusader for gender equality), where interpreters translated the film into Hindi. Women from many of the Adithi groups came (about 20 in all) for the party. I asked the women of Bhusara to make a sujuni about cow dung as a response to the film. The resulting piece is in this exhibition. At least two other sujunis have been made about cow dung. When I asked one of the women about cow dung being added to the visual repertoire of sujunis, she said to me, “This dung is our work. You don’t use it so many ways where you come from. You gave us the idea but now it is ours.” This sujuni may be the first time dung has been recorded as a representation of work.
The “Hawkers and Vendors” khatwa is a journalistic piece that records some of the issues of other poor working women in the city of Patna. Viji asked me to photograph a day in the life of the stainless-steel pot sellers who traded pots for used clothing, which they then took to the second-hand street markets. She wanted a document that would give all the hawkers and vendors photo-identification so they wouldn’t be harassed by the criminal elements that were demanding bribes in exchange for space to sell their wares. We took two khatwa workers with us for the day. After visiting the hawkers in their curbside dwellings, we drove to the lively street market and held a photography session. The “business men” (criminals who demand bribes to allow vendors to occupy public space) and eventually the police came to drive us out. It was an adventure that was then depicted in the “Hawkers and Vendors” khatwa, including the “bad guys” black car and a flight of birds, which both symbolize escape. The khatwa is made out of the used clothes that it depicts, making a literal connection to the story. The characters of the individual hawkers and vendors are drawn out through the stitching.
Moving to the Art World
The separation of sujuni and khatwa from works of art is extremely unclear. The urban viewer in India is likely to compare their stitching to that done on a sari or dupatta, because these items, too, are seen first as functional objects, and then as having stories with meanings. North American quilts (a parallel Western form of textile art) are seen primarily as meaningful art objects that can fetch high prices in an art gallery. Viewers of both of these art forms have a responsibility to respect the makers’ skills and consider their intentions. Scholars of popular culture and textile experts have judged sujunis and khatwas by comparing them to past examples of kantha (a precursor to sujuni and khatwa), or to the newspaper headlines that are their topics, or by the number of stitches per square inch. Designers and craftspeople are expert at recognizing the highly developed technical skills and the rich surfaces created by the stitches. Some Western art critics are puzzled because the work is made by multiple people; this way of working has been known to fly in the face of the Western notion of “the original work of art.”
“The creative expression of rural and tribal artists has always been seen by most of them (art historians) as a product of ethnic collectivity whose authenticity lies in the remoteness of time and space.” (Jain, 1997, preface)
“if the artist’s name was not inscribed on a work of art, it was not because his individuality as an artist was required to be eclipsed. Often the name of an individual artist was not mentioned in the work, either because there was a ‘mason’s mark’ somewhere, or because he, being a part of a certain socio-economic system, had to be ‘sublimated’ to highlight the role of the patron or the commissioner of the work.” (Jain, 1998, p.10)
Ninnila Hansa and Anju are two sujuni makers. Ninnila’s mother-in-law is known in the village as a good storyteller. She fuses the past, the present and the future in narratives that include the family, neighbours, gods, politics and the land. Ninnila is good at drawing and tells her stories in pictures that are stitched into the sujunis. Anju wrote, and then stitched, the text of the story of the River Ganga that Ninnila’s mother-in-law had told. Hindi text stitched alongside images is a recent phenomenon. At first, no one involved in the project knew how to write. Now everyone gathers around to listen to Anju read the story in a new form of folk communication. sujunis and khatwas do not fit neatly into any category. This work is a record, a livelihood and an art form; it addresses the lives of women, the issues that need to change, and the need for - as the 19th-century socialist and designer William Morris put it - “useful work versus useless toil.”
Beginning as a revived craft practice, sujunis and khatwas have transcended their original forms through the imaginations of the women in Bhusara and Patna to become a new, and at times uncompromising, art. These textiles are narratage (visual media where one of the players is a storyteller). The woman drawing the story on the plain cloth is the storyteller. The women stitching, piecing, chatting and changing that drawing into a sujuni or khatwa are listening to, and transmitting, the storyteller’s narrative while adding their own interpretations to the text. Just as folk songs or legends are passed on through oral traditions, these works are passed on from hand to hand through observation and conversation. They offer a unique glimpse of contemporary life. The linguistic, poetic and aesthetic accomplishments of ordinary women with extraordinary visions of the world are at the heart of this work.
The Story Behind the Stitches: Indian Women, Indian Embroideries
By Laila Tyabji, 1999
In Bhusara village the women sit in the winter sun stitching their quilts. The quilts tell the story of the women’s lives - marriage, working the fields, tending both livestock and children, and stories of violence: rapes, infanticide and dowry deaths. The women’s aspirations for the future are also part of the quilts: education, earning and travelling to far-off lands. But behind their slow stitches is another story, told through their craft and their own creativity, which is gradually reshaping their own lives.
For the last 18 years, Dastkar has been working with traditional Indian craftspeople, using their skills to draw them into the economic mainstream. As I write I’m haunted by the words of Geeta Devi, one of the women who makes sujunis: “To work is forbidden, to steal is forbidden, to cheat is forbidden, and to kill is forbidden. What else is left except to starve, sister?” As per the going rate for female agricultural labour in Bihar, a woman would have to work 70 days a month in order to feed her family. Geeta Devi’s embroidery stitches not only empower her, they have become her alternative to starvation. This is the context in which many Indian handcrafts are made; it is the context in which Dastkar and I work, where the beauty and creativity of the product is second to the sheer economic necessity of its production and sale. Ironically, the disregarded, decorative activity done by women has turned out to be the lifeline of their families. As Ramba Ben (a mirror-work embroiderer from Banaskantha) once said to me, “The lives of my family hang by the thread I embroider.”
The state of Bihar where the sujuni quilts come from is a confused and sad place. The mixture of fatalistic apathy in the villages and mindless violence in the towns is depressing. But sujuni itself is a lovely craft, and north Bihar is physically beautiful and gentle, with green undulating groves and streams that are deceptively and lushly serene. The media reports of violence, corruption and inter-caste tensions are at such variance with the outward passivity and karmic calm. The women who make sujunis are a paradigm of similar contrasts and contradictions: the fineness of their stitches contrasts with the poverty in which they work. The exhibition in Canada represents the reverse of their own society’s disrespect, not only for their fine skills but also for women’s lives in general. When I was last in Bihar, two craftswomen were talking (as we talk of which movies we last saw) of how often they have contemplated killing themselves. Only the thought of their children had saved them. The story behind the quilts is therefore both a parable and a paradox. Craft traditions are not only unique mechanisms for rural women entering the economic mainstream for the first time, but they also carry the stigma of inferiority and backwardness as India enters a period of hi-tech industrialization and globalization.
In the late 1980s, the first Adithi designers had the interesting challenge of trying to create a whole new design idiom for sujuni. The original craft tradition had died without being documented and the women were not yet equipped to become their own designers. Solutions include the adoption of the kantha pictorial quilt tradition of Bengal (the two techniques and cultures have much in common), and the treatment of the sujuni quilt as a vehicle for social comment: a sort of comic-strip poster illustrating social issues like family planning or dowry, rather than a decorative household accessory.
The sujuni and khatwa techniques lend themselves to pictorial storytelling, but social and political comment should also be pleasurable viewing. In the first sujuni quilts social rhetoric replaced design, aesthetics, and even function. A condom quilt crafted in rural Bihar is an interesting one-off cultural phenomenon, but when hundreds of women in dozens of villages have both the need and the capability to earn an income from sujuni, there is an imperative to develop products with a more universal appeal - products that are marketable, functional and fun.
Dastkar’s design and marketing intervention with sujunis is threefold: i) to develop new products, including garments, accessories and soft furnishings, which will add diversity to the Mahila Vikas Sahayog Samit (MVSS) (Women’s Co-operative Development Organization) product range, ii) to help the women understand the basic concepts of product development in order to give their work an aesthetic as well as a sociological base, and iii) to encourage the embroiderers to be creative artists rather than merely cheap labour.
Until recently, the women did not create their own designs; rather, they were developed by designers employed by Adithi or Dastkar, and traced onto the cloth by two girls who were trained in this work. The Dastkar design principle is to preserve the unique qualities of sujuni and the spontaneity of its traditional style (which is almost like a child’s drawing), while incorporating new elements and motifs, varying the colours and usages, and helping the sujuni women become the designers. Each spread, garment or sari is made up of different small elements and motifs that are linked by freehand drawing so each piece is unique.
The quilts have become the means to learn how to combine colours, motifs and designs, and to help the women participate more fully in the creative process. We (Dastkar) illustrate how the various images of their lives can be incorporated into one harmonious composition, introducing the concept of colours as conveyors of mood and creators of pattern. This has led to the start of an animated discussion on structure, and the symbolic need for both design layouts and society to operate within a shared framework. In life and art, human beings and nature must interact together. Hopefully, message and metaphor mingle harmoniously with art and end-usage.
When we develop designs, we play a game, encouraging the women to sort a bag of 100 coloured threads into piles of greens, reds, yellows and blues. It is interesting how confusing they find it (unused to such a plethora of different shades) to place a pale green or misty blue into an appropriate colour group. Embroidering, too, they find it difficult to remember the rhythm of colour repeats. Choices, and their ability to make those choices, are both equally unfamiliar concepts. In one quilt, we were depicting one woman in various stages of her life. The idea that she should be the central figure in each square, distinguished by size or some other special feature, seemed strange to the women. Obviously, unlike urban women, the sujuni workers don’t see themselves in the “heroine” mode, or as markedly different from one another.
Sujuni quilting is an age-old craft skill. Adithi’s revival and re-interpretation of sujuni is only a few years old but it has taken the craft and the women into new, uncharted directions. The revival raises the whole issue of interventions, and points out some of the differences between this traditionally based practice and other Dastkar projects where there are no existing craft and design traditions. Are we creating a new, indigenous craft tradition that will flourish and flower into the next millennium, or would sujuni in Bhusara die out if Adithi and Dastkar were to disappear?
Does the end result justify the means? How do we justify our interventions? Is the choice of sujuni itself (as a vehicle to generate rural women’s employment and earning) an appropriate one? It certainly is not a solution that arose out of the women’s own skills or the demands of the consumer. Once begun, the process cannot be reversed. Women, stitching their lives into their quilts, have changed their own lives in the process. The quilts, once simply a source of income, have become their means of conquering the confines of their landscape and their limited lifecycle - a sujuni worker’s way of transcending the dependence and drudgery of her arduous, anonymous being. Through discovering a creative skill and strength that is uniquely hers, she has rediscovered her femininity, identity and self.
By Dorothy Caldwell
While preparing for my research trip to India, I was reading about the role of textiles in Indian culture. Many religious texts in India talk about the universe being seen as a cloth woven by the gods. I like the idea of an uncut cloth being seen as an organized universe - the warp and the weft... the uncut fabric... the whole cloth. India has a god and a goddess of tatters. You can take rags to certain temples and offer them to these gods and goddesses. Supposedly, you will receive a whole cloth back.
My first knowledge of kantha (a precursor to sujuni and khatwa) came from an article that Stephen Inglis (head of research at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Quebec) gave me while I was studying Canadian quilts. It was given to me at just the right time. I learned that old kantha were made of recycled scraps of soft white saris and dhotis, which were hand stitched together to create larger cloths. Kantha intrigued me because women made these textiles by piecing together imagery from their own lives: religious events, social activities and rituals. Within a similar format, each kantha has personality. This relates to traditional North American quilt making, where women constructed quilts with cloth that had a previous history and, using their own designs, worked in groups to stitch them together.
Research in India
Skye Morrison and I ended up in Bihar by chance, by luck, by whatever. When you have a focus, these things seem to happen magically. I spent two weeks in Calcutta, visiting various women’s co-operatives that have revived kantha, and seeing the historical collections at the Ashutosh and Gurusaday Museums. The co-operatives I saw in Calcutta were successful economically, and had high standards of craftsmanship, but they were either copying historical work or second-guessing what Westerners might like. I was not finding personal expression from women’s lives.
Shirsendu Ghosh, my guide and interpreter in Calcutta, told me that he was involved with an organization called Adithi, in Bihar. They were working on a sujuni project and he invited us to visit. Bihar turned out to be incredible. The first sujunis that I remember seeing were in Adithi’s Patna office. I thought, “These must be the really special sujuni quilts that they have put aside for their own collection.” When I tentatively asked if they were for sale they said, “Oh yes, we certainly would sell all of them!” We immediately bought two. We then went to the village of Bhusara where the project is based. In the building where the women keep their threads, meet, do their work and store the quilts, they opened trunk after trunk of these quilts. Piles of them- it was overwhelming.
On our last day in Patna, Skye came across a khatwa in Mahila Harit Kala (Eco-Friendly Store), the Adithi shop. The khatwa was appliquéd and embroidered, and had been made by Hindu and Muslim craftswomen working together. My first reaction was, “Skye and I are going to have a big fight over this piece.” It was a graphically stunning urban dowry quilt with images such as cars, trucks and computers. The comparable dowry quilt from the village was subtler, with more traditional images of cooking utensils and storage vessels.
To me, sujunis and khatwas are connected because women are working with personal subject matter in both cases. They are also starting to use materials from one another’s co-ops, such as hand-woven silk and naturally dyed cloth. Each group can inspire the other and be supportive, which is good for the whole organization.
The Stitching Women’s Lives Project
In order to commission the sujunis and khatwas for this exhibition, Skye and I found 22 individuals or groups to each sponsor a quilt. Talking to people in Canada and the United States about the women and what they are doing is satisfying. We feel it is important that people buy the work and thereby contribute to the women’s economic freedom. The education and economic success that goes on through the quilts is profoundly affecting people’s lives. The quilts are a living part of these women’s history because they evolve continuously. No two are the same. Sujunis and khatwas are journalistic records that have an impact on the maker’s worldview and on our understanding of their lives.
As a result of my research in India, I have developed several stitching workshops that are tailored to quilting and embroidery groups as well as art, craft and design students throughout North America. Students explore personal themes by analyzing a quilt and answering a series of questions about the imagery and the construction. Sujunis and khatwas provide a way of investigating “the stitch” as a connection between utilitarian, decorative and conceptual work. My workshops are all about “the stitch.”
Traditionally, the stitching in kantha cloth was a practical way of connecting three or four layers of cloth together. The simple utilitarian straight stitch soon began to take on personal meaning as it evolved into images from the stitchers’ lives. This method of accumulating stitches is the basis of my workshops. Students bring their lives to these quilts on many levels.
Experienced stitchers and quilters immediately see how sujuni is done. They are in awe when they come up close to the sujunis and realize that the backgrounds are solidly stitched white on white. During the course of the workshop, they become used to thinking with the stitch. Art, craft and design students respond most enthusiastically to the khatwas, which are dramatic, contemporary and graphic. Everyone comes away with a heightened sense of the narrative potential of stitching.
The balance between what stitches do - patch, repair, connect and hold layers together - and what stitches can become as narrative elements, is a key to understanding the artistic expression of the women in Bihar. This is where sujuni, khatwa, kantha,North American quilt making and many other women’s domestic arts share common ground. Art is the expression of one’s life experiences and having others respond to that expression. It all comes down to communication. We listen to the women’s stories and we make up our own stories to share.
By Viji Srinivasan
Her tiny lily-white hands are stiff and icy. Though the traditional midwife saved her from female infanticide at birth, the girl baby had to be brought to Patna on a rickety bus over vast expanses of wave-torn floods. It was too late. The pediatrician turned away. Tears welled in the mother’s eyes. Her daughter was buried at midnight in the sands beneath the fast-flowing Ganga. The women sent her sweet, scented white rajnigandha flowers.
Widows are condemned to sorrow-filled lives in white saris, relinquishing their jewellery so that other men of the family will not find them alluring. Even when her husband was alive she was secluded by the veil that hid her face from the world. This is all done to prevent the birth of a child from another man: should such a tragedy occur, the funeral offerings of food would go to the other man’s ancestors. Her husband’s soul would wander in space, in hunger and in agony forever and ever.
Bihari women face such frightening and restrictive realities. Nevertheless, they still have an intense desire to possess consumer goods. Whether for dowry demands, community status or to ensure an early marriage, the materialistic world is part of everyday life. With the introduction of sujunis and khatwas as income-generating projects, the craftswomen are able to pour out their innermost feelings through their talented fingers using the glorious threads to depict stories of their lives. Everything they are unable to tell their husbands, fathers and brothers, they can now tell the world.
And with this new-found mode of generating income, the women’s situation has improved in recent years. As wage earners they are able to travel freely to the cities and even to other countries. “Purdah” (the restriction of married women to the home) has almost disappeared. The age to marry has increased, and a few of the young women in the village are insisting on being married without dowry. Literacy and numeracy is improving. But is there real structural change? Have the women conquered men’s domination? Has the guilt of the men eased to dull remorse? Some of the men say: “These are our customs.” Women retort: “Barbarism is camouflaged in the complexities of our diverse traditions.”
Sujuni and khatwa making has opened the way for solidarity and collective action across caste boundaries. The ability to generate income has empowered women in their families and communities, economically and psychologically. Will this success last? How will these women take control of their lives and be able to celebrate their future? It is the hope of everyone working at Adithi that the successful planting of creative seeds in individual communities will grow into a wider consciousness about the meaning of women’s working lives.
© 2007 Textile Museum of Canada