New project explores Gwent women's lives
2:02pm Saturday 14th September 2013 in Monmouthshire news
A NEW project explores the history and experiences of local women involved in fashion and textiles in Gwent.
Vintage Vision, the social enterprise based in Abergavenny and Chepstow, has recorded interviews with local women as part of their Digital Stories project.
The project includes audio interviews and original pictures which will be shown on screens in both of the shops.
The women interviewed include a holocaust survivor who created clothes for Richard Nixon's wife and Peggy Williams, 87, from Llanelly Hill, who worked at the Dannimac factory in Brynmawr for more than 30 years.
Mrs Williams let Vintage Vision borrow old photos from her days working at the factory, where she was a supervisor for many years, and includes photos of her and workmates at a party.
On Monday Mrs Williams saw her story on show at the Vintage Vision shop in Abergavenny for the first time.
She said: “It’s wonderful, they’ve done a great job. It’s lovely to see my pictures and story on the screen.”
In Mrs Williams’ story, ‘Made to Last’, she describes the painstaking process of making the high quality coats, from cutting out the materials to supervising and teaching the girls to sew the material together.
Mrs Williams said: “I’ve always been interested in clothes. Under my mother’s supervision I would make clothes for my brothers and sisters from the age of 10. My mum used to make me lovely suits. She would crochet these beautiful outfits for me, she was very good.
“I remember going to Worcester and the traffic warden stopped all the traffic for me because I was wearing a white suit with a gold chain belt.”
She added: “I’ve always liked clothes. I love to see someone dressed nice. I like to see nice looking stuff.
“I still have my old Singer sewing machine, although I don’t use it so much anymore, but I do use it occasionally if I have to shorten something.”
Amanda Peters from Vintage Vision said: “I met Peggy when I gave a talk at the older people’s luncheon at the St Michael’s Centre. She mentioned she had worked at Dannimac for all those years, and when we came up with the ideas of Digital Stories I popped in again and asked if she would take part, and she said yes.
“The Digital Stories, of which we have done six so far, are part of a joint project with the Abergavenny and Chepstow museums.
“We wanted to capture local women’s stories about textiles and fashion to try and preserve those memories.
“The six women we have interviewed have all been very different and shows the breadth and experience we have in our community.”
The stories are available to see at the Abergavenny shop and will be shown at the Chepstow store from September 24.
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