Covid Women and Witchcraft

Covid Women and Witchcraft

Wow, what a couple of weeks! We have all had Covid in our house, one after another. It has been intense and given me lots of flashbacks to the first lockdown; when we didn't know when we would be allowed out normally again. I'm so grateful that once my 10 day isolation is done, I'll be free to walk the dog again. 

I splashed out on a new 1000 piece puzzle for our quarantine. "Inspirational Women From Around the World", and as we were putting the final pieces in place the other night, I felt a sense of outrage. Harriet Tubman. Do you know who she is? Or Jane Addams? How about Mary McLeod Bethune, Yayoi Kusama, Sybill Lupp or Sophie Scholl? (*Go to the end to if you don't know). Thank goodness, my children had heard of many of these, but my generation, and those before me probably haven't! These are women who were courageous and changed the world against all the odds. Why did I not learn about the founder of social care at school? Something so important, but I did learn about a pint-sized, entitled frenchman with a God complex, playing out his games of power and dominance on the masses- and MANY others like him.

Helena Perry. covid, drawing boardI have been putting in the odd hour in the studio, (here I am at the drawing board, wearing 5 layers and in my Covid fug) and working on my series which I have now found a name for: "Everyday Magic". I'm really pleased with the title. It works on different levels, because the beauty of these items is a little like magic.

The rumination about the lot of women in history continued as I was working. The persecution is really very recent and continues now. Women were unable to legally hold property until after 1870- that's only 3 generations ago for me, (my great-grandmother) . The spousal exception for rape, under which husbands could not be convicted of rape for forcing their wives to have sex with them, was not abolished until 1989!! These facts and the many, many others like them, make my blood-pressure rise. I had to stop researching for the sake of my health!

I studied in Exeter, a town a lot like Cambridge, where ancient history feels quite tangible. It was the last place a woman, Alice Molland, was hanged for "witchcraft" in the UK in 1684. (Although it's worth mentioning that Janet Horne was burned alive in Scotland in 1727 and the last witchcraft trial in America was for Lucretia Brown in 1878!)

Many of the thousands of women murdered were Healers or Herbalists; both practices outlawed by the church. Looking at these "Everyday Magic" objects makes me wonder about a language lost. A female connection to nature that was silenced and degraded. I have chosen the items intuitively and with out any overarching plan, but I am aware that each has symbolic meaning, and perhaps Alice Molland would have been able to do a reading, or cast a spell, or make a prayer from each painting. The type and position of each feather, shell and plant being significant, communicating something...

These rambling covidy thoughts aren't yet fully formed into something coherant, but it is making me feel like each composition is a defiant magic reading, wiser than I am. Nature's way of telling us something...

Thanks so much for reading my stream of conscious as I figure it all out! I'd love to hear any thoughts or initial impressions from you. Here are a few more progress shots.

everyday magic, nature
Here's hoping for a healthy half term! Don't forget that if you need something for Valentine's Day, I have some lovely hand-crafted things that you won't find anywhere else! Click here to see a small selection on my homepage.

No covidy cuddles from me!
⬇️ Check out these women below and add them to your history books! 
* Harriet Tubman- died 1913. She escaped slavery and helped to free 70 slaves using the "Underground Railroad". A network of anti-slavery activist and safe houses.

Jane Addams- 1860-1935 Known as the mother of social work in America. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

Mary McLeod Bethune - 1875-1955. A devoted educator and activist. She opened one of the first schools for African American girls in 1904.

Yayoi Kusama- 1929- still living. The first woman to represent Japan at the Venice Biennale. There was a great documentary about her life and how she has been exploited.

Sybill Lupp- 1916-1994. A successful racing car driver who challenged gender roles. She was one of New Zealand's first mechanics.

Sophie Scholl- 1921-1943. A symbol of resistance. She was an active member in the White Rose group in 1940s Germany. She was executed by beheading for distributing leaflets by the Nazis in Stadelheim prison.
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