Sarah-Joy Ford: Archives and Amazons

A Quilter’s Guide to The Lesbian Archive

“Taking care of the past without attempting to fix it means living with bad attachments, identifying through loss, allowing ourselves to be haunted.” (Heather Love, Feeling Backwards: Loss and the Politics of Queer History, 2007, p.43) 

Sarah-Joy Ford presents a new body of work following several years of research in the Lesbian Archive Collection at Glasgow Women’s Library. Sarah-Joy’s work takes pleasure in connecting with this lesbian heritage, acknowledging the complexities of queer archiving and stitching through to new legacies with this work.

This exhibition is an exercise in taking pleasure in identification, recognition and connection with the lesbian pasts represented in the archive. It provides material space to remember the stories of the dyke lands, lesbian history walks and lesbian spaces hidden in their vaults. Ford’s work examines what it means to look backward through a largely unknown history; acknowledging failed utopias, and stitching through the complex politics, feelings and affects of the Lesbian Archive. Creating a new legacy for lesbian lives in every thread.

Using quilt as a methodology, Ford has responded to and re-visioned archival material. Each stitch is a mediation between the feelings, sensations, and pleasures of exploring lesbian pasts. This reflection indulges in the images, iconographies and symbols that have been used to invoke lesbian strength, power, and community throughout the 20th and 21st century. These iconographies are woven textile tales from Lesbos, the interlocking Venus, and the labrys to the Amazon woman.

Sarah-Joy Ford is an Artist and Researcher based in Manchester, where she is a member of Proximity Collective and co-director of The Queer Research Network Manchester. Her current AHRC funded PhD research examines quilting as a methodology for re-visioning lesbian archive material.

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Exhibition partners:

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Works Available for Sale

All works in the exhibition are for sale, please contact for more information.

The silk scarves are priced at £150 each (3 x scarf designs in editions of 3)
A series of embroidered patches are also available to purchase at box office (priced at £15 each)