Use Your Hands for Happiness: Home Craft Make-do-and-mend in British Women’s Magazines in the 1920s and 1930s

Hackney, Fiona (2006) Use Your Hands for Happiness: Home Craft Make-do-and-mend in British Women’s Magazines in the 1920s and 1930s. Journal of Design History, 19 (1). pp. 24-38. ISSN 0952-4649

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Abstract / Summary

This article investigates the role of commercial women’s magazines in the dissemination of modern design in Britain in the 1920s and 1930s. Taking Alison Light’s work on conservative modernity as a starting point, it identifies a discourse of feminine modernity, arguing that magazines, along with radio and the cinema, foreground the experiences, aspirations, attitudes and values of women and provide a useful resource for a wider and more nuanced understanding of modernism and the experience of modernity in these years.

The significance of the ephemeral, amateur world of DIY design and craft practice has gone largely unrecognised in design history. The special issue and exhibition represent an important step in addressing this absence. Hackney's article on home craft brings together original oral history interviews, the views of editors and primary material gathered from magazines to assert, rather than devalue, the importance of domestic, commercial craft and the complex and varied nature of women’s responses to it.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: 10.1093/jdh/epk003
Additional Information: This is a single authored article ‘Do It Yourself: Democracy and Design’, a Special Issue of the internationally recognised peer reviewed Journal of Design History. An accompanying exhibition was held at the Design Centre, Barnsley (April – June 2006), which travelled to MoDA (museum of domestic design and architecture), London during the summer of 2006, and to the U.S in 2007. The author lent original magazines and objects and wrote text panels for the exhibition, which along with the Special issue was widely reviewed (Guardian review, RIBA Journal, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists). The article was developed from an invited paper given at the symposium accompanying ‘Stitch: the Art & Craft of Homemaking’ at MoDA, May 2003, and related ideas were examined in a review of N. Grigson & L. Crewe, Second-hand Cultures, published in the Journal of Design History, Spring 2005.
ISBN: 0952-4649
ISSN: 0952-4649
Depositing User: Fiona Hackney
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2014 08:28
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 16:04


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