Several things collided that prompted me to get started sifting through the archives I have stored in the basement - and to do something with the stuff.
So - I have initiated a Second Wave American Album page on Facebook hoping to also catch stories from other people who were involved in the 1970s women's movement. It is set up for everyone to post, add pictures and comment.
The years between 1970 to 1982, the year the Equal Rights Amendment failed, were challenging and exciting. For me they follow two tracts - the arts and women artists and the ERA -
because I was involved on both tracts - although there was much overlap in people and purpose.
What happened to get me started on this?
- A CA college student called and asked to interview me about the Coalition of Women's Art Organizations. She hoped I would have files and pictures to lay before her - you know sort of like the Smithsonian. But I could not. They were all gathering dust in boxes scattered on shelves in my studio. When she came to Washington I gave her a few posters and an outline that covered what she was interested in, added some suggestions and sent her on her way ---- after a couple of very pleasant hours of talk.
- Epiphany - This request and interview - and the fact that she could not find the information she needed at the Smithsonian, the Museum of Women in the Arts or anywhere else was an epiphany for me. Like a pack rat I have kept it all. Now I feel a responsbility to myself and all the women I knew and worked with to organize what I have and give it to an Archive that will make it available. I have the story - and its not just mine. We were a large grass roots effort. - True I have memorabilia from the now-famous but mostly from the every-women, like me, who pushed things along
- Most importantly, my daughter Robin is here visiting. Robin is a Social - Media specialist - a guru. First of all, she is interested in the history - which she lived as part of her childhood. So, she is teaching me how to use Facebook and Twitter to organize this stuff in a way that it is accessible to others with a way for you to comment, add your stories and your pictures. We are going through papers, photographing slides, gathering the material for the album - hoping to identify people in the photos and add your stories to this album - to make a richer quilt.
- You may wonder why I want to do it this way - as an internet album. Since the 1970s Albums have been a part of my body of art work from personal albums to albums in which groups of women participated i.e. Women Yes, ( a large collage quilt with an accompanying notebook of letters from women across the country), The American Album, (a collection of nine fabric covered notebooks containing original arts works from 325 women of 32 States which I took to the UN Conference on Women in Nairobi in 1985. This last is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Women in the Arts.) The Second Wave American Album is conceived as a digital album with an internet presence so that women everywhere can participate.
P.S. -- If you are wondering what exactly I did in the 1970s and early 1980s relating to the women's movement, you'll find some of the details on my public Linkedin Profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/ellouiseschoettler