Feminist Charms

Feminist Charms, 2017 by Ruth Ewan with Joy BC, Photograph: Caro Weiss

Commissioned by Panel exclusively for Glasgow Women’s Library, Feminist Charms is a charm bracelet edition featuring five key symbols from the Glasgow Women’s Library archive.

The bracelet functions as a form of timeline, designed to be added to, reflecting the eclectic objects and the historic and urgent issues encapsulated within the Library’s collection:

Votes for Women Coin (1912) – This coin is cast from a ‘thrupence’ defaced with the slogan ‘votes for women’. The Library holds pennies defaced by suffragettes, one dating from 1907 and one from 1912. A thrupence coin, small in size, traditionally features on charm bracelets from this era.

Carry A Nation Axe (1846–1911) – A radical member of the Temperance movement in The United States of America, Carry A. Nation campaigned all over the US, paying her way by selling little pins shaped like hatchets that symbolised her struggle. She was known as the ‘Bar Room Smasher’ and was often depicted clutching an axe in one hand ready to attack any bar that needed smashing.

Sisterhood Symbol (c.1970s) – Merging the female Venus symbol with the long-standing symbol for workers’ resistance and solidarity, it appears the ‘sisterhood symbol’ first emerged in Europe during the women’s liberation movement of the late 1960s and ‘70s, popularised by use in political tracts and protest banners. The archive holds a silver necklace featuring the symbol as pendant.

All Different All Equal (c.1995) – This is a cast of a pin badge from the Library’s badge collection. The original was a souvenir of the European Youth Campaign for Diversity, c.1995, and is a two-tone black and white design.

This Pussy Grabs Back (2016) – Following Trump’s infamous remark ‘grab her by the pussy’, many activists present on the Women’s March of 2017 reclaimed the phrase, turning it around. This charm features a cat’s head sculpted by Joy BC and engraved with the promise to ‘grab back’.

Feminist Charms by Ruth Ewan with Joy BC, Photograph: Caro Weiss