by Brenda W. Clough
I am an ageing hippie. But I am a gentle and ineffective one. I’ve never been to an outdoor music festival, nor done drugs, nor been on a protest march. So I approach the Women’s March on Washington on Saturday January 21 with anticipation! There’s already plenty of advice floating around about what to do, bring, and wear. The ACLU has put out a guide to our rights, with advice on what to do when you’re arrested. And experienced marchers have advised on carrying washcloths for tear gas, and energy bars.
But I am an artist. My first impulse? Signs! This first one is a variant on an famous Texas slogan, which usually has a picture of a cannon or a gun. For me the point of this March is to push back against the misogyny and sexism that have been such a feature in the political cycle. So most of my signs revolve around feminist issues. Like this:
I am pleased with how the old graphic design chops, asleep for forty years, spring happily to life when the trumpet calls. I have a quantity of recycled foam core board, so these signs will be both light and rigid. Most of the paint is acrylic, with colored paper and fonts, but I’ve tinkered with markers, as here:
In the photo they look like butterflies, which is also fine. There is an enormous freedom in this kind of thing. Signs are not art, nor are they book covers. The only requirement is legibility. There is no commercial impulse in here. My kind of art! I have put all these, and several more, up on a Pinterest page so that if other people want to borrow them they can.
Other things I will bring include: a roll of duct tape, an armload of paper tubes from wrapping paper (for the signs), granola bars, water, toilet paper, wipes, cash, ID, a credit card, and my Metro pass. Somehow all this has to fit into the pockets of a waterproof jacket, a pair of overalls (selected because of pockets), and various shirts, sweaters and jackets layered over and under all of the above. Gloves, ski hat, a spare pair of socks. Some of the plastic bags that newspapers come in, flattened and folded for transport. What else should I pack?