Zoë Thomas
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‘At Home’ in artistic houses and studios
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This chapter provides the first comprehensive history of the homes and studios belonging to Arts and Crafts women and the relationships that played out in these spaces. Together these homes, which ranged from rented rooms in purpose-built urban housing for working women through to grand country houses, constituted key sites of resistance and self-expression. In the quest to find ‘a room of one’s own’, women art workers increasingly sought their own studios, which functioned as the central space in their lives. Following the life course of women art workers, the chapter begins in the unmarried home. Firstly, exploring the experiences of young women in the family home, and then their adult lives, often in all-women households, or remaining in the houses they had grown up in. The final section explores how art workers, married and unmarried, together used their homes and studios to create an expansive network spread across the capital, and across the country. By reformulating traditional practices of domestic socialisation such as ‘At Homes’, to organise meetings focused around art, work, education, and political reform, these women remained respectably situated amidst an expansive domestic milieu, whilst engaging in the very process of pursuing modern working lives.

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