Unit 3 - Context

Details
Details

Our brief for our context module was to create an integrated poster presentation that combines ideas, writing, data and visuals so as to map (reveal) present-day cultural meanings attached to your object. We were encouraged by Paul Rennie to visit a supermarket or a museum to pick an object that appeals to us. This was such a vague task that at first I felt a bit lost as to what sort of object I wanted to draw, and whether I would tether myself to something uninteresting by not thinking it through. Thankfully I went to the V&A museum and found an object that was visually stunning and had a whole wealth of historical fact and connotations for me to work with. 

 
Details

The brilliant context lectures that Paul Rennie and Peter Hall had been delivering over the term had helped me immensely when it came into the mindset of discovering the world that a single object can unlock. A particular lecture that obviously helped inspire this project was Paul's lecture on posters, and how they are delivered and received. It definitely helped me get to learn how to approach this project. 

Details
Details

After having chosen my object as a flintlock pistol, and having done loads of research into the history of weapons and guns, I ended up veering towards women with guns and their lack of representation throughout history, particularly female pirates. Whilst I was working on my illustrations for the poster I knew I wanted to pick a particular facet of the history of the flintlock and piracy has always interested me, so what better to use this project as a means to tap into that information and create an output for it. I remember a trip to Scotland a few years ago where I found the "Rules of the Inn" poster (above) in a pub somewhere and I loved it. I recalled this memory whilst doing my research and so this poster ended up influencing my own quite significantly. 

Details
Details

I enjoyed the excuse to draw guns and pistols whilst trying to decide which style I wanted to stick with for my poster. I ended up using a thicker line with a women's hand and replicated it so there were two pistols, representing both that fact that they were often carried in pairs, and also a nod to the infamous skull and crossbones of pirates. 

Details

This was the poster that I handed in on our final Friday for the critique with Paul and Andrea. I was quite happy with the production and overall look of my poster and my illustration I think worked well with the style I was going for. After receiving some feedback on moodle from Paul Rennie, he suggested re-writing my essay with more focus on just one element of the "women with guns" idea, as I had tried to cover too much ground which had meant the essay had lost its identity a bit. I completely agreed with this so was more than happy to edit and recreate a better piece of writing. He also suggested I look more into the 'Pub Sign' idea to push it further, and I liked the suggestion so I did further research to see if I could evolve my poster into something better. 

 - My original essay before editing - 

For me, the flintlock pistol, amongst many weapons has always been fascinating to me. Growing up reading many fantasy novels about pirates, assassins, magicians and cutthroats, it’s an object that embodies all those characters I had completely fallen in love with. But the best thing about it was and is that it is real. Going to museums and seeing these stunning weapons on display was a doorway into the imaginations of all those writers I had spent my years reading. It brought my beloved characters closer and for that I will always be utterly fascinated by weapons such as crossbows, swords, daggers and pistols.

 

I remember hearing a paraphrased version of the line "Heav'n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn'd, Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn'd" for the first time in a movie. I thought I loved it at the time because it’s so rare to hear any sort of power, emotional or otherwise, given to women in films. But as I grew older and my understanding of feminism and how I wanted my gender to be seen in the world adapted and changed, I realised that this line is somewhat unfair. It implies that the ultimate level of ferocity that a woman can reach is only to be untapped by a man, and more specifically, a man who has wronged her. This is obviously not true. A woman can be fierce and intimidating all by herself without having to have been pushed there emotionally. However, we must still appreciate the power behind this line, and the threat it holds, throughout many a year it has spread fear into the hearts of men, especially those stood in front of a woman with a weapon, which brings us to the crux of this poster, a tribute to the heroines of my fantasy childhood and of the real world throughout the years. In an era where feminism is slowly (and rightly) becoming less of a whispered, scorned at word and idea, it’s a great time to reflect on the women in history that made their way by immersing themselves into a man’s world. The flintlock pistol, is a great representation of this. It’s a weapon that was carried by nobles, commoners, pirates, highwaymen, thieves, the honest, the brave, the scared and the bored. The weapon itself can range from plain wood and metal, to delicate (almost feminine) inlaid silver patterns with depictions of gods and mythical creatures or floral designs. The women that carried pistols are often forgotten, their lives and memories lost or drowned in the sea of male achievement and forgotten by the men in history that wrote books, started wars and passed laws. Or more sadly, they weren’t even known in the first place, and I would like to think that there were many who carried a pistol and who used it either with fierce defiance or calm resolution. This poster is an accolade to all those women.

 

First I must mention Lady Katherine Fanshawe, or Katherine Ferrers, also known as the “Wicked Lady”, the highwaywoman of the mid 1600s. Believed to have been responsible for dozens of crimes, including arson, theft and murder, she was thought to have become a notorious highwaywoman whilst her husband was away to make up for her dwindling fortune. She died from gunshot wounds sustained during a robbery. For me the picture of her in my mind, dressed in full men’s attire and brandishing a flintlock pistol she is the epitome of a historical female icon. Obviously her crimes cannot be condoned, but she can be admired for dominating a small piece of a world that was entirely in the hands of men.

 

A huge name to mention when talking about women with guns is the incredible Annie Oakley. Born in Ohio in 1860, her skill with guns first developed as a young child when she would hunt pheasant and quail for her family to eat. Being able to shoot them in the head leaving all the edible meat untouched, she could then sell some of the game to the local restaurants in the area and she started getting a reputation for being a superb shot. Her career began and she was the first white woman to be hired by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Company to fulfill a typically male role, one of her most famous tricks was being able to shoot a cigarette out of someone’s mouth. She was also outwardly vocal on her thoughts that women should be as able with firearms as men to be able to defend themselves and also their country. Her and her husband met when he, a travelling marksman, came to her town and challenged anyone to out shoot him, they started dating when Annie won. This woman is such a huge inspiration even now, to any woman who thinks that their set of skills belong mainly in a male dominated environment.

 

Women pirates are a particular favourite group of mine from history. In a world where it was considered bad luck to even have a woman on board a ship, let alone sailing with one calling herself pirate, there are a handful of fearsome ladies that deserve the title wholeheartedly. There was Anne Dieu-Le-Veut, a French criminal deported to Tortuga married the man who had killed her first husband after challenging him to a duel. They sailed the seas as infamous pirates seizing ships and even raiding Jamaica. Another was Ching Shih, a fearsome woman who terrorized the China Sea during the 19th century. She was captured by pirates and married their captain. Once he died, she took command of his fleet, her reputation preceding her enough to terrify British admiralty after they’d learned that she’d nailed a man to the deck and beaten him senseless. A woman being in charge of 40,000 men will always be impressive, this woman in particular is such a huge character, imagine the initial struggle she may have faced when her husband died and yet she kept her power and took control of the 300 ships. And finally Anne Bonny, married her second husband, pirate Jack Rackham, the two sailed the seas and Anne being an efficient fighter helped raise a crew and capture dozens of ships. They came under attack by the order of the Governor of Jamaica and whilst her crew were too drunk to fight she managed to hold off the attack for some time. Eventually the ship was captured and her husband was executed and Anne Bonny disappeared. She has become such an icon that her name and persona have been used in the popular video game Assassins Creed.

These incredible women are just a few to mention from the golden age of piracy. There were many others including Sayyida al Hurra, Pirate Queen Teuta of Illyria, Jeanne de Clisson, Grace O’Malley, Christina Anna Skytte and Jacquotte Delahaye. All of whom have stories of their own that were just as exciting as the last.

 

Whilst the presidential election was happening here in 2016, there was a lot of coverage in the news about Donald Trump and his main rival Hillary Clinton. Many viral videos and interviews surfaced where male and female voters disregarded her because they believed as a woman, she was far too ‘emotional’ to be President. One voter (a female if that makes it any more ridiculous) even stated that because Hillary was older, it shouldn’t be allowed to let a menopausal woman get hold of the nuclear launch codes (as if every war in history hadn’t been started by a man). Nevertheless, this is the part of Congreve’s line that saddens myself and many others alike, the thinking that once a woman had been personally ‘scorned’ her actions would be erratic and full of wrath, she would be unable to control the rage that had spurned her onto a revenge-finding warpath. Imagine these voters thinking that if a newspaper had printed a report on Hillary saying she had a bad hair day that suddenly she would have felt the overwhelming desire to blow up North Korea, (as if women like Hillary Clinton and other female ‘celebrities’ wouldn’t be used to being told they look bad by now). Anyway, because of this archaic way of thinking, men throughout history have been taught to fear a woman with a gun, even forbid them from having picked one up. Perhaps this made them even more dangerous, who knows? I for one am in awe of these women. I have no desire to commit murder or theft or any other crimes, but I do admire the way these women defied all odds, picked up a flintlock, and created their path in the world.

Details

And so after taking Paul's suggestions to further improve my poster, I looked at traditional pub signs to help get a better understanding of how to present my final poster in such a way that it looks more put together. The research was invaluable and used with all of my previous exploration I was able to develop a poster layout that I was even happier with. 

Details
Details

- Edited essay- 

 

For me, the flintlock pistol, amongst many weapons has always been fascinating to me. Growing up reading many fantasy novels about pirates, assassins, magicians and cutthroats, it’s an object that embodies all those characters I had completely fallen in love with. But the best thing about it was and is that it is real. Going to museums and seeing these stunning weapons on display was a doorway into the imaginations of all those writers I had spent my years reading. It brought my beloved characters closer and for that I will always be utterly fascinated by weapons such as crossbows, swords, daggers and pistols. I did not learn enough about powerful women in history when I was in school, and I do not just mean the great ones who were peaceful and respected rulers, I also mean the cruel ones, the violent ones, the ones who were hated for their beliefs and their actions. There are just not enough women in history, despite the fact we know that they were there. I turned to fiction to get my fill of inspiring and awful females, I need it now as much as I needed it then. 

 I remember hearing a paraphrased version of the line “Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d, Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d” for the first time in a movie. I thought I loved it at the time because it’s so rare to hear any sort of power, emotional or otherwise, given to women in films. But as I grew older and my understanding of feminism and how I wanted my gender to be seen in the world adapted and changed, I realised that this line is somewhat unfair. It implies that the ultimate level of ferocity that a woman can reach is only to be untapped by a man, and more specifically, a man who has wronged her. This is obviously not true. A woman can be fierce and intimidating all by herself without having to have been pushed there emotionally. However, we must still appreciate the power behind this line, and the threat it holds, throughout many a year it has spread fear into the hearts of men, especially those stood in front of a woman with a weapon, which brings us to the crux of this poster, a tribute to the heroines of my fantasy childhood and of the real world throughout the years. In an era where feminism is slowly (and rightly) becoming less of a whispered, scorned at word and idea, it’s a great time to reflect on the women in history that made their way by immersing themselves into a man’s world. The flintlock pistol, is a great representation of this. It’s a weapon that was carried by nobles, commoners, pirates, highwaymen, thieves, the honest, the brave, the scared and the bored. The weapon itself can range from plain wood and metal, to delicate (could be considered feminine) inlaid silver patterns with depictions of gods and mythical creatures or floral designs. The women that carried pistols are often forgotten, their lives and memories lost or drowned in the sea of male achievement and forgotten by the men in history that wrote books, started wars and passed laws. Or more sadly, they weren’t even known in the first place, and I would like to think that there were many who carried a pistol and who used it either with fierce defiance or calm resolution. This poster is an accolade to all those women. 

 First I must mention Lady Katherine Fanshawe, or Katherine Ferrers, also known as the “Wicked Lady”, the highwaywoman of the mid 1600s. Believed to have been responsible for dozens of crimes, including arson, theft and murder, she was thought to have become a notorious highwaywoman whilst her husband was away to make up for her dwindling fortune. She died from gunshot wounds sustained during a robbery.  For me the picture of her in my mind, dressed in full men’s attire and brandishing a flintlock pistol she is the epitome of a historical female icon. Obviously her crimes cannot be condoned, but she can be admired for dominating a small piece of a world that was entirely in the hands of men. 

 A huge name to mention when talking about women with guns is the incredible Annie Oakley. Born in Ohio in 1860, her skill with guns first developed as a young child when she would hunt pheasant and quail for her family to eat. Being able to shoot them in the head leaving all the edible meat untouched, she could then sell some of the game to the local restaurants in the area and she started getting a reputation for being a superb shot. Her career began and she was the first white woman to be hired by Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Company to fulfill a typically male role, one of her most famous tricks was being able to shoot a cigarette out of someone’s mouth. She was also outwardly vocal on her thoughts that women should be as able with firearms as men to be able to defend themselves and also their country. Her and her husband met when he, a travelling marksman, came to her town and challenged anyone to out shoot him, they started dating when Annie won. This woman is such a huge inspiration even now, to any woman who thinks that their set of skills belong mainly in a male dominated environment. 

 Women pirates are a particular favourite group of mine from history. In a world where it was considered bad luck to even have a woman on board a ship, let alone sailing with one calling herself pirate, there are a handful of fearsome ladies that deserve the title wholeheartedly. There never seems to be enough information for me about women in history, and especially in this case. I want to know more about their history, their fails and successes, their life story. And of course what sort of gun they had. 

There was Anne Dieu-Le-Veut, a French criminal deported to Tortuga married the man who had killed her first husband after challenging him to a duel. They sailed the seas as infamous pirates seizing ships and even raiding Jamaica. Another was Ching Shih, a fearsome woman who terrorized the China Sea during the 19th century. She was captured by pirates and married their captain. Once he died, she took command of his fleet, her reputation preceding her enough to terrify British admiralty after they’d learned that she’d nailed a man to the deck and beaten him senseless. A woman being in charge of 40,000 men will always be impressive, this woman in particular is such a huge character, imagine the initial struggle she may have faced when her husband died and yet she kept her power and took control of the 300 ships.  And finally Anne Bonny, one of the most infamous women pirates, operated around the Bahamas in the mid-1700s. We can only imagine how hard it was for her to become a respected and equal crewmember in a world where man made all decisions and women had barely any rights. She was born an illegitimate daughter, already starting her off at a disadvantage, which meant she had to work even harder to be noted in any sort of society. In her teens she lost her mother and in the years that she ran her fathers plantation she developed a reputation for being a young woman who could certainly hold her own. There were rumours that she had murdered a serving girl with a knife, for whatever reason we do not know, and one that she hospitalized a young man for several weeks after he attempted to sexually assault her. This makes you wonder what sort of stories we’d be telling about her now if she had had her first flintlock as a young woman. Her second husband, pirate Jack Rackham, was an improvement from her first. The two sailed the seas and Anne being an efficient fighter helped raise a crew and capture dozens of ships. They came under attack by the order of the Governor of Jamaica and whilst her crew were too drunk to fight Anne and fellow crewmate Mary Read managed to hold off the attack for some time. Eventually the ship was captured and her husband and crew were executed and Anne Bonny disappeared. She has become such an icon that her name and persona have been used in the popular video game Assassins Creed.

 In today’s modern world where in places like the United States, every man and his dog own a gun, the beauty of the weapon has diminished significantly. Now they are mass produced and plain, cold hard metal with no sense of craft. For such a gun-loving country you would think that the art of the gun would be more prevalent but in actuality they just divide a nation into those who feel safe and those who don’t. The ancestors of the modern day handgun are the antiquarian beauties of fantasy novels and period dramas, each one made with a skill and craft to perfectly suit its owner. I think that it’s very sad to think that something beautiful like the flintlock pistol has devolved into a shell of its former life and designed solely for destructive purposes. Handguns used to be so much more that that. They were heirlooms/ status symbols/ adornment/ accessories. To look at now, they were so interesting, and their owners even more so. I hope that someone somewhere has a treasure trove of information and stories about women with guns from all over the world, and from all manner of time periods, and I hope that one day it surfaces and I get to read it. Until then, I’ll stick to fantasy novels that let me live my life vicariously through the painted nails of a pirate captain brandishing her pistol and ruling the seas. 

 

___________________

I'm very pleased with my poster design after I had tweaked it, I think it has a much more coherent visual aesthetic and I definitely have to thank the added pub sign research which helped me develop more of a direction. 

The brief was really open and, if i'm honest, felt a bit vague so it was daunting at the beginning. But the lectures with Paul and Peter helped immensely to get into the right mindset of things and their 'context'. I enjoyed the process, and I know having done so will help with my future projects.  

Comments

DavChurlTB
15 July 2017, 8:56 PM
Cialis Plux Dapoxetine Commande En Ligne  <a href=http://lowpricevia.com>viagra</a> Como Puedo Comprar Viagra Sin Receta
DavChurlTB
17 July 2017, 1:37 PM
Afin Priligy  <a href=http://femalecial.com>cheap cialis</a> Wellbutrin Online Prescriptions
2 comments

    Add comment