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The Gloucestershire SCOBY

By 29th February 2024April 10th, 2024No Comments

© Monica C LoCascio

A unique, living and growing art installation by Hundred Heroines will weave Gloucestershire’s textile history with the story of its forgotten workers to mark Women’s History Month 2024.

A giant SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) will form a unique growing art installation presented by Hundred Heroines, in collaboration with contemporary textile artist Monica C. LoCascio. Having been incubated in the Eastgate, the unusual interactive art centrepiece will be cultivated and grown into a piece of antique fabric, created locally when Gloucestershire’s textile industry was booming in the 1900s.  The first installation incorporating the SCOBY will be displayed in Nailsworth from 18th April.

The Gloucestershire SCOBY will eventually be harvested, treated, and used in a new contemporary textile artwork created by Monica. This artwork will be housed in the Hundred Heroines’ Permanent Collection.

Historically, spinning was regarded as “women’s work” and, despite the integral role of women in the textile trade and as vital wage earners for their families, the word ‘spinner’ evolved into ‘spinster’ – a term used for mockery and derision.

Through the lens of contemporary feminist art, Hundred Heroines’ programme will address this prejudice, shining a spotlight on those women – those spinsters and housewives and pieceworkers – whose invisible work contributed so much to Gloucestershire’s history.

Based on Monica’s series Without Us the System Fails – a performative installation where Monica grew, harvested, washed and dried pieces of SCOBY in reference to the inequalities of reproductive labour – the harvesting of the Gloucestershire SCOBY, and in particular its smell, will recall the dire conditions that many Gloucestershire people, mainly women, endured when working in the textile mills.

This project has been made possible through the generous support of The Ampersand Foundation

About The Ampersand Foundation

The Ampersand Foundation is a UK grant-awarding charity that exclusively supports the visual arts. The Foundation supports high-quality exhibitions and projects, provided they are free to the public at least one day per week. It also supports public collection expansion. The Foundation is focused mainly on supporting institutions and projects within the United Kingdom.

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