We had a fantastic hands on craft meeting in July when De Beauvoir artist, Marie Claire Porter brought her potter’s wheel to our meeting. Marie Claire began making ceramics in 2014. Trained as a medical doctor and working in the field of neurology, she is drawn to making pieces that not only have form, but function, fulfilling the need to create something that was both practical and artistic. She talked about her journey from neurology to potters wheel and demonstrated the art of throwing a pot. A number of very brave members got to experiment with throwing their own pots and we all took up the opportunity to make a coil pot. Marie Claire kindly offered to fire our pots and we clearly have a number of budding potters amongst our members looking at the array of items to be taken away to the oven.
Osteopathy for Heath
We enjoyed a highly informative meeting in June when Sundip Balraj Singh-Aujla, a registered osteopath joined us to talk about women’s health, the importance of correct posture and how to maintain a healthy pain free posture. We learnt about the importance of sleep, nutrition and movement in maintaining a healthy body and healthy bones, along with the benefits of making exercise like yoga and Pilates an integral part of our lives to help us maintain pelvic and spinal stability. And we also leant how osteopathy can help in health maintenance and injury prevention. Thank you Sundip for a enlightening evening.
It was also a big voting month. At the NFWI AGM in Cardiff in early June the 2019 resolution Mental Health Matters was passed with a 98% YES vote from members. There will be a fuller report from the day posted on our campaigns page over the next couple of weeks.
We also voted on what we might do with our surplus from our fundraising activities last year, buttons were placed in jars and the tally was equally split between Bloody Good Period, the Freedom Club and financing a craft meeting for members.
Next months dates for your diary
July 7th is our big fund raiser for the year, Party In The Park, taking place in De Beauvoir Square between 2 and 5pm. We are running the Tea & Cake stall for the fourth year running and are looking for people to help with baking and also for help on the day. It’s a fun afternoon for all the family. Get in touch if you are willing to bake and/or help at the usual address.
10th June Processions March in Central London where we will be taking our banner on another trip out to celebrate 100 Years of some women getting the vote.
Plus on 30th June we are having a Girls Day Out with a trip to Bletchley Park.
In May we celebrated our 4th Birthday with tea and cake and our AGM. We looked back at all the fun we had last year and enjoyed a wonderful slide show of images from the last 12 months and planned for new and exciting adventures ahead. Thanks to our Middlesex Federation representatives who helped the proceedings go smoothly. We had a lively discussion and voted on the resolution Mental Health Matters and committee member Sara will be taking our vote to the National AGM in Cardiff in June and will report back at June’s meeting.
In April we had a fabulous time with J Smith Esquire, De Beauvoir’s new milliner, whose wonderful creations can be see through the windows of his establishment on Southgate Road. Justin Smith graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in millinery after studying the discipline for 6 years. He started his own label, J Smith Esquire in 2007 following the critical acclaim of his graduation show and since then, alongside designing his own collections, has also collaborated with high end fashion designers and created exquisite pieces for art installations and for television and film.
He brought a wonderful collection of his latest hats and we got the opportunity to try on some beautiful, high end millinery, thank you Justin for being so generous with your time and sharing your knowledge and your amazing hats with us
2018 marks 100 years since some women gained the right to vote. Although the Beast From The East interrupted our week we were very glad to be able to celebrate International Women’s Day with a talk from The Fawcett Society. Angie from East London Fawcett came and gave a very interesting and stimulating talk starting with the origins of the Fawcett Society and the suffragists, led by Millicent Fawcett, and gave us an insight into their current campaigns and research around gender inequality.
We had a lively debate following the talk and also had the opportunity to see for the first time our De Beauvoir WI banner which we then proudly accompanied on the March4Women on Sunday. The banner was then displayed outside the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday 8th (International Women’s Day) and appeared on stage at the Royal Festival Hall at Mirth Control alongside Sandy Toksvig and other inspirational women on Sunday 11th March.
A huge thank you to Hackney Archives who came along to our February meeting to talk about their work. They collect, preserve and provide access to records that contribute to our understanding of Hackney’s socio-economic and cultural identity.
The archive was started in 1882 by John Tyson, a Hackney land owner who donated his library. The archive was located in the Old Shoreditch Library in 1965 and in 2012 they moved to a specially designed public space in CLR James Library, Dalston Square.
The oldest document in the archive was written in Latin and dates back to 1356.
They hold over 17,000 images in the form of paintings, drawings and photographs, a small proportion of which can be seen online. Picture postcards, documenting the changes in De Beauvoir over time, are held here as well as photos of bomb damaged properties (see below) and photos of the streets pre clearance to develop the De Beauvoir Estate can also be seen.
They hold a huge collection of maps providing a major source of information on how the area has developed over time . Along with ‘Street Directories’ which were published between 1840-1930 giving list of residents and the drain surveys which began in 1856 – all hold a vast amount of knowledge about the footprint of individual properties.
They also welcome volunteers to help them catalogue for various projects.
What a fabulous start to the year as we welcomed Nicola Whittaker from Fellows Auctioneers. Fellows is a family run firm and Nicola is a sixth generation member of her family to join the business and she began working in the auction house aged 16 in her school holidays. Fellows are based in Birmingham but have an office in Mayfair, London where Nicola now works. Specialising in jewellery and watches, she explained that unlike many other auction houses, they do not put a lower price limit on items they auction. Passionate and informative she took us through a whistlestop tour of the history of jewellery, how changes in society emerged in changing aesthetics, and how things changed further as exploration, excavation and gem cutting equipment developed. She was so generous with her time and her knowledge and spent a further hour with us looking at the treasures members had brought in and giving us information on origin , history and potential value. She also mentioned that that Fellows have open afternoons where anyone can go and peruse the items up for auction so we are thinking we may plan a trip there. If you are interested in coming along email us at firstname.lastname@example.org