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Pockets is a discovery of personal heritage through traditional embroidery materials and techniques. An 18th century pocket was worn under a woman’s clothing and contained her most personal possessions, both practical and sacred. Over time, English women’s circumstances have changed. They can now vote, own property and are free to choose whether they reproduce. With Pockets, Joe Ross highlights the lost potential of women who struggled for these freedoms, and explores her own hidden inheritance. Each piece, or portrait, or pocket, represents a woman from the artist’s family tree, including herself. Pockets recognises the strength and creativity of historical working-class women, and uses this heritage to claim a space in the world.
Joe Ross is an English, working-class artist who challenges ideas concerning the production and meaning of cultural artefacts. She is passionate about combining gender-coded materials and the visual language of reliquaries and ‘bling’ to challenge ordinary women’s status.