As the UK’s only accredited museum wholly dedicated to the history, lives and achievements of women, the Glasgow Women’s Library was the perfect destination for the team of talented creatives to delve deep and conjure up an array of provocative, witty and thoughtful products. Commissioned by the design curators Panel, From Glasgow Women’s Library responds to the histories and legacies of the empowering females dedicated to advancing human rights and closing that gender gap once and for all.
Glasgow-based artist Ruth Ewan and jeweller Joy BC joined forces to create Feminist Charms, a bespoke sterling silver bracelet and five feminist charms that represent key historical and cultural cornerstones, pressing current issues and numerous objects featured within the archives. These beauties can also come in made-to-order, 9ct yellow gold-plated versions.
The charms, which translate as a timeline of sorts, include a defaced ‘Votes for Women’ coin to spotlight the suffragettes, a ‘Carry A Nation’ axe in honour of the radical hatchet-wielding crusader from the US, a ‘Sisterhood Symbol’ to signify the Women’s Liberation Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, a ‘This Pussy Grabs Back’ charm in light of the Trump era and an ‘All Different All Equal’ pin badge cast from the library’s badge collection based on a souvenir from the European Youth Campaign for Diversity.
Reading List T-shirts by graphic designers Kaisa Lassinaro and Maeve Redmond are also part of the trailblazing collections. Made in the UK from Fairtrade organic cotton, these clever tees reference specific books sourced by the designers from the Glasgow Women’s Library reading list catalogue. Some of the chosen works include Sisterhood is Powerful, edited by feminist poet Robin Morgan, A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark, How to Be Both by Ali Smith and The Color Purple by Alice Walker, to name a few. Once more, there’s a whole host of amazing books in the library’s collection available to borrow for free.
So much more than your typical souvenir, Slogan Mugs by Sally Hackett and ceramicist Anna Lewandowska-Mirska celebrate sexuality in its purest form while exposing the entrenched socially constructed truths. The artists sought inspiration from numerous sources, including comic books (particularly the humour and protest portrayed in many), the questionable mugs found in sexual health clinics, and slogan badges and handmade zines found basking amidst the library’s collections.
The glorious result addresses the assumptions, expectations, pressures and misrepresentations that smother sexuality. Made from slip-cast porcelain and each bestowed with their own unique personality, these mugs are beautifully hand-painted. Slogans include ‘Women Like Orgasms’, ‘I Love My Pubes’, ‘Pregnant with Knowledge’, ‘Sexual Awakening’ and ‘Orgasms for Women’.
A laser-cut sketchbook detailing the architectural timeline and evolution of the Glasgow Women’s Library is also part of the selection, along with an artful lamb’s wool ‘Votes For Women’ book cushion designed by Donna Wilson and hand-knitted in Scotland.
An unparalleled glimpse into Indian culture and women in the UK, Hearing in Halves is a recipe book that showcases conversations between groups of women with Indian heritage and artist Jasleen Kaur. The book touches upon themes of duty, sustenance, loss and labour and secures a voice for the histories and narratives of these inspirational women. It also shows the importance of food as a vehicle to instigate conversation and promote solidarity.
Found a stone’s throw from Bridgeton Cross on Landressy Street, the Glasgow Women’s Library was founded under the principle that the world should be a place where ‘women’s historical, cultural and political contributions to society are fully recognised, valued and celebrated’ and where ‘every woman is able to fulfil her potential’. The building is home to an extensive lending library and archive collections and is brimming with events and learning opportunities galore.