Otti Berger, photographed by Lucia Moholy, 1927, design-is-fine.org
2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus; the seminal art school that would change how we perceive and interpret art forever. The Bauhaus is seen as one of the most important influences on how art, design, architecture and arts education was perceived, developed and created in the twentieth century and twenty-first century. The Bauhaus embraced both crafts and fine art to make a complete piece of art. However, as pioneering as the Bauhaus was they were not as pioneering in their attitudes towards women students with many being forced into the weaving workshop. Although, one such female student became enthralled with weaving and went onto become one of the twentieth centuries most famous textile artists; Otti Berger.
Eva Chichester was a Sunday School teacher born and raised in Newcastle, County Down c.1872 and passed away c.1955. Her life spanned the end of the 19th century and saw the advances for women from the early 20th century to her death in 1955 aged 83. Eva was born into a well-to-do middle-class family and appears from photographs to be her parents only child. Although it is worthwhile noting that little is known about Eva’s life outside of her photographs, albums and travel journals that are now deposited in the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). A systematic problem that is all to common with women’s history that scant details of their lives exist and we are left to pick up the pieces from what records do survive from their lives.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s historic Apollo 11 mission to the moon. When Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon, they were wearing state of the art space suits designed by Playtex. Playtex as in the company that pioneered the use of latex in women’s undergarments including girdles and long-line bras. The spacesuits where designed by Playtex and where stitched by female seamstresses who already worked for the company such as Hazel Fellows, Anna Lee Minner, Lillie Elliott and Ruth Anna Ratledge. There is even a somewhat hilarious video of a man wearing an early version of one of the space suits to test out the limitations of the suit itself.