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This WEA workshop was promoted as tackling the serious theme of modern feminism with fun and humour.  The facilitators were Diane McCarthy a performance poet and project manager of the Kate Sheppard Celebration Tours, and Lucy Gray a PSA activist who is curator  of Banna a co-constructed banner for pay equity.  Two other facilitators had dropped out beforehand.  We started with a sharing round of our feminist backgrounds, and Lucy talked about Banna.

Banna

We were then invited to crochet (hooks and wool provided) and if we wished to, make a flower which could be added to Banna.  I’ve never managed to crochet.  My mother who was proficient tried to teach me, but the fact that I’m left-handed while she was right-handed proved to be an obstacle.  In this group people were willing to demonstrate, but again they were all right-handed, and I didn’t manage very well.

My flower didn’t flourish

We were introduced to a book with many ideas for feminist crafting: Crafting with Feminism.  25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy by Bonnie Burton.  It gives ideas for feminist dates we might commemorate and some slogans.  I particularly liked Vivant Viragines – Long live female troublemakers!

The WEA offers good kitchen facilities.  I was delighted to find a tea-infusing spoon and loose Earl Grey tea leaves, which meant I could have a proper cup of tea.

Later we were invited to start knitting a feminist ally, with instructions from Knit your own boyfriend by Carol Meldrum.  I finished one leg, and may do more.  The pattern could be used for any doll.  The final activity was to re-purpose a hard cover book which we’d been asked to bring.  This involved sealing the pages and recovering the book.  I declined to do this as it would simply produce another item that I don’t want, and I left early (though not as early as the three who disappeared at lunchtime).

I met some interesting women, but overall found the workshop a little disappointing.  I’m not sure just what I was hoping for, perhaps more structured sharing, and the opportunity to join in something like yarn bombing.   Opportunities to meet with feminists in a light-hearted way are rare these days, and I commend the WEA for providing this session.

I find it rare in nowadays
to meet with new Viragines

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