Ruffles – ‘An agreeable space’

The artist installing at Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate in York.

Ruffles is an art installation celebrating strong female figures, those who ruffled feathers to move society forward and those women who supported them to do so. It recognizes the interdependent relationships of women spanning different social standings, backgrounds and cultures.

The piece was initially shown in September 2021 at Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate, York. This was where the diarist, entrepreneur and mountaineer Anne Lister married her partner Ann Walker in 1834. This was reenacted by the BBC for the first series of Gentleman Jack and in 2018 the church became the first UK site with a history plaque with a rainbow boarder sharing LGBTQ+ history.

The piece consisted of 143 white cushions adorned with hand sewn ruffles in a variety of fabrics including hard wearing cottons through to fine silks to represent a cross section of society. These fabrics, all in muted tones have been used to represent the coming together and interdependency of a cross section of women. The cushions are modest on their own though striking and full of impact when combined on mass, reiterating the celebration of women and what can be achieved together.

Each cushion contained Yorkshire lavender which fills the space with a delicate scent that lingers in the air and provides another sensory element for audiences to engage with.