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Quilting Lesbian Domesticities w/ artist Sarah-Joy Ford

June 9 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Join Sarah-Joy as she discusses recent projects that explore the use of quilts to examine and re-imagine historical lesbian domesticities.

During this Threads Textile Festival event, Sarah-Joy will talk us through the research and realisation of her recent projects Looking for Lesbians and Beloved during this talk entitled:

Quilting Lesbian Domesticities: Plas Newydd Historic House and Gardens & The Sorority House in 1950s Pulp Fiction.


Looking for Lesbians was a project originally created for ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, and is currently on display as part of Sunny Bank Mills Gallery’s textile exhibition, Tangled Up.

At the heart of the original exhibition was a series of artworks that examine the sorority as a site of same sex intimacies and lesbian desire as well as brutal regulation of acceptable femininities. The work draws from the earliest lesbian pulp novel written by a woman, Vin Packer’s 1952 novel Spring Fire, and Ann Bannon’s slightly later 1957 novel Odd Girl Out, which set their stories of sapphic love and loss in a sorority.

These new works produced by Sarah-Joy explore the fascination with women’s societies and single sex spaces in lesbian culture. The work claims a deliberately femme aesthetic in its re-imagining of the tragic pulp fiction endings, taking pleasure in shades of pink, pastel hues, satins, sequins, and decadent surfaces.


Beloved was a site-specific, quilted intervention inspired by the Ladies of Llangollen; Lady Eleanor Butler (1739–1829) and Sarah Ponsonby (1755–1831), and the extraordinary home that they created together at Plas Newydd. The exhibition was the first of its kind to make an intervention into the house through a radical re-designing of the domestic textiles of the home including quilts, cushions and curtains. The techniques used to create the new artworks directly reference Sarah Ponsonby’s own creative practice which included sketching, watercolour painting and embroidery. Through a combination of handcraft and digital techniques Sarah’s artistic legacy is woven back into the fabric of the house. The new works were a loving intervention, and embroidered embellishment of this extraordinary tale of women who lived, and loved, differently despite enormous societal restrictions.


Both projects were supported and funded through the NWCDTP (AHRC) partnership placement scheme.


This talks is suitable for ages 18+. Adult themes may be explored.

Terms and booking conditions

Talk bookings can be cancelled and refunded up until 7 days before the scheduled start date. We regret that refunds cannot be offered less than 7 days before the talk date. Please note that Eventbrite’s booking fee is non-refundable.

If we need to cancel the talk for any reason your ticket will be fully refunded.



This talk will be held in the Gallery which is located on Farsley Town Street. The main entrance on Town Street has a flight of stairs. The Gallery can also be reached by a flat access entrance to the rear of the building, through the Mills’ Main Yard (there is an approx 1 inch step on the doorway). There are several disabled toilets on site, as well as free accessible parking. . If you have any additional access needs, please let us know on your booking form so that we can offer assistance on the day.


This event is part of a series of workshops and talks taking place during Sunny Bank Mills’ Threads Textile Festival. Visit our Threads Website to see what else is happening across the weekend!

Book more workshop tickets directly through Eventbrite by visiting our Threads Collection.


June 9
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Book Now


Sunny Bank Mills Gallery
83-85 Town Street
Farsley, LS28 5UJ United Kingdom