In 2018 Oxford Brookes University awarded a bursary to This Girl Makes, as part of their Student Impact fund. The application was kindly supported by staff at Rycotewood Furniture Centre, Joe Bray and Dr Lynn Jones.
The aims and expected outcomes for the project were:
- To educate its readers and remove the outdated concept of gendered job roles
- To promote craft to a wider range of people in a relevant and relatable way
- To enhance the portfolio of This Girl Makes’ projects and provide an opportunity for further research
- To celebrate female furniture makers and enhance their careers through the promotion of their work
- To help recent graduates of furniture and craft courses enter into employment
- To work with a local printer to produce the book
- An exciting and informative publication that encourages more people to consider furniture design and making as a possible career
- A publication that will form the basis of a future exhibition, exclusively for female furniture makers
- A wider connected network of craftspeople and furniture makers
- An improved awareness of how women are influencing the craft and design industries
A variety of designers and makers were invited to contribute to the book. The aim being to cover as wide cross-section of the furniture industry as possible, from those taking their GCSEs right through to those who have had their own practice for over twenty years. The intention of the book was to be as fully representative and intersectional as possible, therefore women with a variety of identities were invited to take part. The final selection also included a feature written by a man, who offered his support of women makers.
In total there were 16 features in the book, as well as a few others who contributed in small ways. The book’s content includes: written accounts, design drawings, photographs and illustrations, as well as and illustrated fold-out poster for young children or those who don’t speak English.
The book was printed in Oxford by local, independent printing company Common Books (http://www.commonbooks.org), a not for profit organisation that creates unique work and runs community printing workshops. The book was created using a Riso Printer, an environmentally friendly alternative to standard printing, which gives a unique aesthetic quality to the final outcome.
A limited order of 150 copies were ordered and distributed within our network. Recipients of the book were encouraged to ‘Pass It On’, as part of an Instagram campaign. Digital pdf copies of the book are available on request.
Following the printing of the book, the editor, Hattie Speed, was invited to showcase this project at Oxford Brookes’ Enterprise Fair, where she encouraged other students to apply for funding and help make a difference to their community.
“I received your book earlier today and wanted to drop you an email to say thank you for sending me a copy. I’m about half way through and I think that you approached the topic of women in the craft industry in a really inspiring way. As a young person entering the world of designer/makers, it’s very interesting to find out about other women’s stories and approaches to making and designing while bringing attention to furniture making as something to be encouraged among all kinds of people, so thank you again.”
Olivia, Apprentice Furniture Maker