Enticing and enacting expectations of female domesticity through the material-semiotic practices of drawing with thread upon a duster

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


‘Expectations of domesticity are inherently female, whilst stitch both empowers and reflects the historical powerlessness of women’ (Parker, 1984). You are invited to join Vanessa for a practical workshop ‘drawing’ your experiences of domesticity onto a duster.

Since 2014 Vanesa has run a collaborative research project, inviting participants to commit through thread their own views and experiences on the relationship between women and domesticity. The result is a growing collection of over 100 hand-embroidered dusters, which are regularly exhibited, ‘performing’ a collection of voices that call for acknowledgement. This workshop reflects the project’s development towards a more haptic, drawing focused methodology.

Marks that are ‘drawn’ upon the duster with a needle and thread result in an expression of the domestic experience as well as a personal voice. They reference marks created through drawing, leaving a trace if unpicked and permanence through application and style. The repetitive process of sewing in this way also mimics patterns of behaviour experienced when completing domestic tasks – motions such as wiping that repeat without conscious thought. Vanessa is seeking through their making to join practices of autoethnography with phenomenology; to join storytelling with an embodied experience.

The workshop will lead stitch-drawn explorations of the duster as an object that can materially manifest gendered experiences of domesticity, supported by spoken prompts to lead conscious and unconscious investigation of the duster through touch, smell and mark-making. The aim is that through practically experiencing this research method for themselves, participants can begin to visually enact their own drawn response to gendered experiences of domesticity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
EventEmbodied Drawing: TRACEY Drawing Research Network Conference - Loughborough University , Loughborough, United Kingdom
Duration: 18 Jul 201919 Jul 2019


ConferenceEmbodied Drawing: TRACEY Drawing Research Network Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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