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With Every Stitch: embroidery, knitting, personal practice, and collective public protest

Steffi Ibis Duarte

‘With Every Stitch’ examines the role of embroidery, and knitting as a contemporary form of collective public protest through two cross-cultural case studies, the work of Mexican collective Boardamos por la paz, and the multicountry craftivist practice of knitted petitions. Building on the work of the V&A’s forthcoming exhibition Disobedient Objects, and the theories of de Certeau, Bourdieu, and Parker, it aims to challenge notions that all efficient activist practices are loud, solely public and with no true place for the private and personal. Through the materiality that their protests takes, both case studies show another way of considering public protest.

Tue, 21 Jan 14 0

A Fi Poppy Show

Rose Sinclair

‘A fi poppy show' is a Caribbean colloquialism for putting on a show or showing off. The exploration of Dorcas Club textiles networks in the UK, proffering an alternative textiles history of the Caribbean front roomThe Caribbean front room has become synonymous with the rhetoric of the past, stories of migration, family, self, the domain of the feminine, a decorated shrine. But another story exists where the textiles that decorate the front rooms reveal the textile practices that some Caribbean women carried out in their Dorcas Clubs. Unable to group together and sew in local church halls like their 18th- and 19th-century counterparts, they found refuge within the confines of the hallowed front room. The finery of the woman of the house was put on show; could she crochet, how high did the crochet stand, could she sew cushions, make antimacassars. Dorcas Clubs were places of production, sharing and making. In the Dorcas Clubs women met weekly to share making practices, commission textiles to decorate their homes, make for mission; sewing could do more than save souls. Dorcas Clubs became a showcase for the textile skills of the Caribbean female protagonist, who had journeyed to new lands. 'A fi Poppy Show' explores the politics of cloth and the textile process in the front room and its alternative histories and narratives of networks, embedded in migration and post-colonial identities

Tue, 21 Jan 14 0

Close to Home - political and social issues, needle, thread and collaboration – reflections from art practice

Lise Bjorn Linnert

In Desconocida unknown murders of thousands of women are in focus through embroidering their names on to nametags in workshops. In Cruelty Has a Human Heart the focus is on evilness. Wondering if it might belong in all of us, quotes about evil - questions, reflections from a wide variety of sources - are handwritten and stitched in workshops. Needle, thread, stitching and collaboration bring forth issues it would be tempting to turn away from. The intimacy of embroidery, the time spent, the repetitious almost meditative motions, the care - are the very opposite of violence and brutality. It gives us chances to contemplate; we stop, absorb and respond.

Tue, 21 Jan 14 0

Skart Collective Belgrade - New Embroidery

Dorde Balmazovic

I will discuss the embroidery projects that the ŠKART collective have been involved with for over a decade. Mottos in traditional Serbian embroideries tend to be clichéd, reinforcing stereotypes. 13 years ago we set up an embroidery workshop with groups of single mothers in Belgrade, encouraging them to express their thoughts and feelings about the society in which they live and the position of women within it. Since most were unemployed, we decided to sell their embroideries on the art market and by doing so, support their home economy. In 2007 we formed a male embroidery group that sews in public spaces - mostly in Balkan countries. The comments this elicits and the consequent discussion we encourage become an important part of the embroidering process.

Tue, 21 Jan 14 0

Remaking Picasso’s Guernica as a banner

Nicola Ashmore, Megha Rajguru

A group of Brighton-based activists and artists are recreating Guernica’s iconic shapes to make a protest banner. It functions as a response to the use of aerial bombardments on civilian populations in recent conflicts. The Remaking Picasso’s Guernica collective has initiated a series of public sewings in libraries, art galleries and meeting halls. The collective consists of individuals representing: Amnesty International Brighton and Hove; Brighton Anti-Fascists; Brighton Voices in Exile; Gatwick Detainee Visitors Group; Migrant English Project; Palestine Solidarity Campaign Brighton and Hove; University of Brighton; and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. This paper looks at the problem of the lone female stitcher, raised by Rozsika Parker in The Subversive Stitch, as well as contemporary debates about art, craft, and activism.

Sat, 30 Nov 13 0