Since 1911 we celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March, which is set out to be the focal point in the movement for women’s rights.
Emerging in the late 19th century Victorian England, the Arts and Crafts movement was born in reaction to the machine-dominated mass-production creating objects of inferior quality. It took its name from the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, a group founded in 1887. It aimed to promote hand-craftsmanship and was one of the first art movements that blurred the line between fine arts and crafts. With its orientation towards ‘homemade’ goods and the domestic environment, it allowed greater involvement for female artisans. Between 1895 and 1905 there were over a hundred different organisations in Britain revolving around the Arts and Crafts principles creating an environment, in which, women could begin to take an active role in developing new forms of design, both as makers and consumers.
Arthur and Georgie Gaskin designed attractive jewels using compositions of stylised leaves and flowers in silver, enamel, turquoise and opals. They had both studied at the Birmingham School of Art and went on to establish a very successful workshop admired for making elegant, hand-made pieces.
Dorrie Nossiter was educated at the Municipal School of Art in Birmingham between 1910 and 1914, and is well-known for her naturalistic, typically asymmetrical designs in the Arts and Crafts tradition.
The celebrated goldsmith, Sibyl Dunlop, born in 1889, was schooled in Brussels. On returning to England she established a workshop in Kensington Church Street, London, later joined by William Nathanson as her principal craftsman in the early 1920s. Her style is characterised by the use of semi-precious and precious gemstones set in silver in symmetrical patterns, often inspired by nature.