Lilian Ptacek portrait in studio

Unruly Methods is an investigation into how clothing has been used by women as a form of political activism to challenge the patriarchy and advance women’s rights. Artists Lilian Ptáček and Poppy Nash will research activist clothing from key moments of the discourse on gender equality, from the Suffragettes to today.

In response to this research they plan to make a series of screen- printed costumes to be exhibited at Kinning Park Complex. They will run screenprinting workshops at Kinning Park Complex, inviting women participants to reflect on the challenges and opportunities to be met by women in Scotland today. Their perspectives, ideas and suggestions will be woven into the weft and warp of the project.

14.12.18 Project Update, Lilian Ptáček & Poppy Nash

During this project we have begun an investigation into how clothing has been used by women as a form of political activism to challenge the patriarchy and advance women’s rights. Our research into female political clothing has lead us to discover some of the methods used by radical women from the Suffragette movement to now. In response to this research we wanted to make something that we could share with a wider community of women to provide a place to platform their ideas. We have created an easy to use template so that people can make their very own Propaganda Bog Coat, at home or together as a group.  It’s simple to make and all you need is an old rectangle of fabric (120cm wide and whatever length you desire).  This piece of fabric works as a framework just like a placard, poster or banner, but through simple sewing you can make it into a disobedient item of clothing.

As a practical response to our research we have created three examples of the Propaganda Bog Coat. These Coats will be exhibited alongside the results of our community workshop at Kinning Park Complex in February 2019. Working collaboratively, we used low-fi screen printing processes to collage digital archive imagery of suffragette objects along with hand drawn marks. We wanted to create a series of costumes that could be worn by women as a form of protective armour. Our three coats have been cut to three different dress styles: the mini skirt; the knee length and the maxi dress; to demonstrate how the sewing template can be easily adapted to accommodate different personal requirements.

With our printed coats we have sought to draw on the visual language used by both the suffragettes and anti-suffragette movements. Here you can see an image of a ‘Brank’, wecame across this shocking image when we looking into the treatment of unruly women. A Brank is a spiked mouthpiece used as to cause pain as a punishment implement used on women until the late seventeenth century. The anti-suffragette movement aimed to silence women’s political demands as they used visual imagery of cutting out their ‘nagging tongues.’ In response to this the suffragettes cleverly fought against this representation of the nagging women by being unruly and loud. They aimed to bestow the women’s movement with honour through using imagery and language associated with the national army, inviting women to join the militant ‘army’ and rewarding women with medals after spending time in jail. In reference to this, we have used printing to transform imagery of aggressive objects use by or against the suffragettes to create a printed chain mail to protect women.

Entering 2019, we are planning to take our wearable propaganda to Kinning Park Complex, where we are working with a woman’s group from the Govan Community Project. We will invite this group to discuss the ideas in this project and invite them to make a Propaganda Bog Coat with us. We see this as an ongoing project and want to introduce many more groups to engage in the project, as we aim to provide a space and platform for those who aren’t often heard, providing a unique approach to rally together and protest! We want to circulate our Bog Coat templates across the country through newspapers and magazine print-outs, like our Suffragette friends, we want an army of coat wearing ladies!

Unruly Methods took place at Kinning Park Complex in February 2019. Take a look

Lilian Ptáček is a visual artist based in Glasgow, where she graduated from The Glasgow School of Art in 2014. Materiality and process drive the production of her practice with a focus on the image as a ready-made material for manipulation. She works intuitively with printmaking and casting to form collages in both image and installation. Lilian has exhibited both locally and internationally in group exhibitions and currently works as an Arts Educator with the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, East Renfrewshire Council and The Lyceum.

Poppy Nash is a designer living and working in Glasgow, she imprints her concepts onto cloth and clothing. She is interested in how art, design and everyday objects can be used as a tool to discuss social issues. Poppy has been heavily involved within the Disability arts movement and currently works as an on-going Youth Consultant for Glasgow based theatre company, Birds of Paradise.