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Common Threads

Book exploring the intersections of feminism, fibre arts, and design

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Tied Together

Like many trying out new hobbies during the pandemic, I began learning how to crochet and sew. I go through different hobbies quite often—embroidery in high school, gouache painting a few months prior to learning crochet, and have been (unsuccessfully) learning how to draw for what seems like the better part of my life—but there was something about the tactility of crochet, the meticulous process of creating something loop by loop that had me entranced. I soon fell in love with crochet and sooner realized the amount of work that goes into crocheting and it is work that often goes unrecognized due to its ties with domestic chores and the work of women. This inspired the topic of my undergraduate thesis and led me to the research question of "since the 1970s, how has feminism influenced fibre arts?" Other questions that helped the creation of my book and research were: What are domestic crafts and how has that contributed to perceptions of fibre arts? How have fibre arts been used to combat sexism and gender-based oppression? In what ways have the uses of fibre arts changed or stayed the same since the 1970s? In my research, I found that while there are a lot of sources and works created regarding feminism itself and looking at fibre arts through a more political lens, there is a lot of disconnect between the world of feminism and fibre arts. With my research and curated book, I hope to draw more attention to highlight different works and artists in one place, to show the depth of this field, and to display that fibre art has a long history with feminism that often goes overlooked.

Tied Together

Like many trying out new hobbies during the pandemic, I began learning how to crochet and sew. I go through different hobbies quite often—embroidery in high school, gouache painting a few months prior to learning crochet, and have been (unsuccessfully) learning how to draw for what seems like the better part of my life—but there was something about the tactility of crochet, the meticulous process of creating something loop by loop that had me entranced. I soon fell in love with crochet and sooner realized the amount of work that goes into crocheting and it is work that often goes unrecognized due to its ties with domestic chores and the work of women. This inspired the topic of my undergraduate thesis and led me to the research question of "since the 1970s, how has feminism influenced fibre arts?" Other questions that helped the creation of my book and research were: What are domestic crafts and how has that contributed to perceptions of fibre arts? How have fibre arts been used to combat sexism and gender-based oppression? In what ways have the uses of fibre arts changed or stayed the same since the 1970s? In my research, I found that while there are a lot of sources and works created regarding feminism itself and looking at fibre arts through a more political lens, there is a lot of disconnect between the world of feminism and fibre arts. With my research and curated book, I hope to draw more attention to highlight different works and artists in one place, to show the depth of this field, and to display that fibre art has a long history with feminism that often goes overlooked.

Tied Together

Like many trying out new hobbies during the pandemic, I began learning how to crochet and sew. I go through different hobbies quite often—embroidery in high school, gouache painting a few months prior to learning crochet, and have been (unsuccessfully) learning how to draw for what seems like the better part of my life—but there was something about the tactility of crochet, the meticulous process of creating something loop by loop that had me entranced. I soon fell in love with crochet and sooner realized the amount of work that goes into crocheting and it is work that often goes unrecognized due to its ties with domestic chores and the work of women. This inspired the topic of my undergraduate thesis and led me to the research question of "since the 1970s, how has feminism influenced fibre arts?" Other questions that helped the creation of my book and research were: What are domestic crafts and how has that contributed to perceptions of fibre arts? How have fibre arts been used to combat sexism and gender-based oppression? In what ways have the uses of fibre arts changed or stayed the same since the 1970s? In my research, I found that while there are a lot of sources and works created regarding feminism itself and looking at fibre arts through a more political lens, there is a lot of disconnect between the world of feminism and fibre arts. With my research and curated book, I hope to draw more attention to highlight different works and artists in one place, to show the depth of this field, and to display that fibre art has a long history with feminism that often goes overlooked.

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Unoccupied Histories

The contents of the book look at works from artists all over the globe who, for the past 50 years, have been using their art and their skills for political means. The final work of this book, titled "Unoccupied Histories" is a series of crocheted pieces that I made. It was important for me to finish this collection with one of my own works—one that was created during the completion of this book and inspired by all the artists that I have researched, studied, and highlighted for the past 8 months. It is a capstone of everything I have learned and hopefully, symbolic of everything this art form is moving toward. I am the artist and designer I am today because of all the artists and designers before me who were bold, unafraid, and used their work to not only try to end sexism, but all forms of oppression that are so intertwined.

Unoccupied Histories

The contents of the book look at works from artists all over the globe who, for the past 50 years, have been using their art and their skills for political means. The final work of this book, titled "Unoccupied Histories" is a series of crocheted pieces that I made. It was important for me to finish this collection with one of my own works—one that was created during the completion of this book and inspired by all the artists that I have researched, studied, and highlighted for the past 8 months. It is a capstone of everything I have learned and hopefully, symbolic of everything this art form is moving toward. I am the artist and designer I am today because of all the artists and designers before me who were bold, unafraid, and used their work to not only try to end sexism, but all forms of oppression that are so intertwined.

Unoccupied Histories

The contents of the book look at works from artists all over the globe who, for the past 50 years, have been using their art and their skills for political means. The final work of this book, titled "Unoccupied Histories" is a series of crocheted pieces that I made. It was important for me to finish this collection with one of my own works—one that was created during the completion of this book and inspired by all the artists that I have researched, studied, and highlighted for the past 8 months. It is a capstone of everything I have learned and hopefully, symbolic of everything this art form is moving toward. I am the artist and designer I am today because of all the artists and designers before me who were bold, unafraid, and used their work to not only try to end sexism, but all forms of oppression that are so intertwined.

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My starting point for Unoccupied Histories was understanding what frustrates me about the state of feminism in our present day. This series takes it's title from the song "mary magdalene" by FKA twigs, which you can listen to along with a number of songs that helped inspire and inform my work. Cassandra's Quilt takes its name from the Greek myth of a woman who was cursed by Apollo to never be believed despite her words and prophecies ringing true. It highlights testimonies and reflections of people’s experiences with sexual assault and domestic violence so that—in a society that is often too quick to dismiss their experiences—their words will always be present and seen. In my research and throughout the book, you will see used quilts to tell stories and to build communities and I hope that the quilt serves as a reminder that no matter how isolating these experiences can be, you are never an island unto yourself and are surrounded by community, warmth, and support, intertwined by the experiences and well wishes of so many like you. "Ideal" "Man" is inspired by DaVinci's "Vitruvian Man," a drawing that is highly regarded as one of the most recognizable art works in Western art canon and was DaVinci's conception of ideal body proportions. There is no one way, nor a perfect "Ideal" to be a woman. Womanhood is not something defined by the colour of your skin, the weight on your bones, nor the genitals between your legs, and yet women everywhere have their bodies made into political playgrounds, mutilated and harmed by those it does not belong to. Left Behind looks at the nature of feminism and the way not everyone—and I mean everyone as I take my definition of feminism from bell hooks' stating that feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression—gets included in the advocacy to end sexism. Now especially, trans women, women of colour, disabled women, women that are poor are too often excluded in the activism that brings women forward. I believe we need to have more compassion and build community with and for all of these people, to put their voices at the forefront and include them in our own advocacy.

My starting point for Unoccupied Histories was understanding what frustrates me about the state of feminism in our present day. This series takes it's title from the song "mary magdalene" by FKA twigs, which you can listen to along with a number of songs that helped inspire and inform my work. Cassandra's Quilt takes its name from the Greek myth of a woman who was cursed by Apollo to never be believed despite her words and prophecies ringing true. It highlights testimonies and reflections of people’s experiences with sexual assault and domestic violence so that—in a society that is often too quick to dismiss their experiences—their words will always be present and seen. In my research and throughout the book, you will see used quilts to tell stories and to build communities and I hope that the quilt serves as a reminder that no matter how isolating these experiences can be, you are never an island unto yourself and are surrounded by community, warmth, and support, intertwined by the experiences and well wishes of so many like you. "Ideal" "Man" is inspired by DaVinci's "Vitruvian Man," a drawing that is highly regarded as one of the most recognizable art works in Western art canon and was DaVinci's conception of ideal body proportions. There is no one way, nor a perfect "Ideal" to be a woman. Womanhood is not something defined by the colour of your skin, the weight on your bones, nor the genitals between your legs, and yet women everywhere have their bodies made into political playgrounds, mutilated and harmed by those it does not belong to. Left Behind looks at the nature of feminism and the way not everyone—and I mean everyone as I take my definition of feminism from bell hooks' stating that feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression—gets included in the advocacy to end sexism. Now especially, trans women, women of colour, disabled women, women that are poor are too often excluded in the activism that brings women forward. I believe we need to have more compassion and build community with and for all of these people, to put their voices at the forefront and include them in our own advocacy.

My starting point for Unoccupied Histories was understanding what frustrates me about the state of feminism in our present day. This series takes it's title from the song "mary magdalene" by FKA twigs, which you can listen to along with a number of songs that helped inspire and inform my work. Cassandra's Quilt takes its name from the Greek myth of a woman who was cursed by Apollo to never be believed despite her words and prophecies ringing true. It highlights testimonies and reflections of people’s experiences with sexual assault and domestic violence so that—in a society that is often too quick to dismiss their experiences—their words will always be present and seen. In my research and throughout the book, you will see used quilts to tell stories and to build communities and I hope that the quilt serves as a reminder that no matter how isolating these experiences can be, you are never an island unto yourself and are surrounded by community, warmth, and support, intertwined by the experiences and well wishes of so many like you. "Ideal" "Man" is inspired by DaVinci's "Vitruvian Man," a drawing that is highly regarded as one of the most recognizable art works in Western art canon and was DaVinci's conception of ideal body proportions. There is no one way, nor a perfect "Ideal" to be a woman. Womanhood is not something defined by the colour of your skin, the weight on your bones, nor the genitals between your legs, and yet women everywhere have their bodies made into political playgrounds, mutilated and harmed by those it does not belong to. Left Behind looks at the nature of feminism and the way not everyone—and I mean everyone as I take my definition of feminism from bell hooks' stating that feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression—gets included in the advocacy to end sexism. Now especially, trans women, women of colour, disabled women, women that are poor are too often excluded in the activism that brings women forward. I believe we need to have more compassion and build community with and for all of these people, to put their voices at the forefront and include them in our own advocacy.

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