Threads of Resistance is a traveling exhibit of fiber art pieces on the theme of resistance to the current administration and all that it means for Americans and the world. You can read more about the mission of the exhibit and see all the entries by clicking the link above. There were over 500 entries and just 60 were accepted. I entered three pieces in the exhibit, but none of them were accepted. Since I spent nearly two whole months working on these pieces (they are all hand stitched and very intensive), I thought I should give them their due here.
I was inspired to make these three because of the aftermath of the 2016 election. After the inauguration, it was clear the new administration would do everything in its power to damage our country and the values that we hold dear. I still believe this and I also think it gets worse every single day. The almost meditative state of hand stitching allowed me to process my feelings during such an difficult time. The first piece, #hashtagsofourtime was inspired by all the new the social media hashtags which continue to fascinate me. I bought a couple of sizes of alphabet stencils just for this project and used a chalk line to mark the letters. Then, I did a back stitch on the lines. After the words were finished it felt so disturbing to me and I was feeling rather depressed, so I added the applique to fill in the spaces and try to lighten the message a bit. I hand quilted it with pearl cotton. This one still makes me feel uncomfortable and will likely never see the light of day unless it's sold or is admitted to another venue.
She Persisted was actually the first one of the three that I finished. I love the phrase "Nevertheless she persisted" and knew that it would be a rallying cry for the cause. While rummaging in my stash I came upon the vintage Lady Liberty embroidery that I had forgotten I bought on one of my antiquing trips. I love using old embroideries and linens in new projects as a way to bring new life to them. I decided to add the quote by Emma Lazarus that is found at the base of the Statue of Liberty. I used a pencil to handwrite the words and did a back stitch over the line. The stripes were pieced of two different linen/cotton blend fabrics in my stash. I thought the state names especially fit the project. For the bottom part I took the stencils and marked them with chalk to spell out the phrase and then filled in the spaces with a running stitch. During this time I developed a love of pearl cotton and so it's what I used for all the embroidery and hand quilting on these three pieces.
Only One Earth is the one that is most dear to me and the only one that will exhibited here at home permanently. It's completely made by hand- hand applique, hand embroidery and hand quilting. I wrote the words and had to play around with it a bit to make them all fit perfectly. I used a blue water-erasable pen to hand write the words and did a back stitch over them. Then I hand quilted over the concentric circles.
Before I started the three main pieces above I was waiting for the stencils to arrive and wanted to try out some techniques to decide if I could do them in a larger piece. I made the #Resist piece first and quickly decided that my idea to do a running stitch outside the letters on anything larger than that would be the death of me. This one took rather too long and wasn't any fun. I did end up finishing it though.
I also made the piece below and I did enjoy doing the back stitched words, but I found that doing it with script lettering was more fun for me. I rather like the wonkiness of a hand written line, so I'm sure I'll do more in future. The Nevertheless piece is hanging in my studio and will likely be a permanent fixture there. You can read the original blog post here.
Finally, I ended to taking the first two small pieces and making postcards from them. The She Persisted cards have sold quite well and are out of stock at the moment, but I might make more if there's interest. Let me know in the comments. The #Resist cards are still available in my Etsy shop.
If you've read all the way to the bottom I thank you for sticking around. I'd also like to share a link to a wonderful blog post that I came across recently- Quilty Habit- Why Make Political Quilts?. Jessica has been able to express her thoughts on the matter so clearly.
The most important thing to know is that there's nothing new about political quilts. They've been made probably since women have been making quilts. They were especially noted during the years before women won the right to vote. Contemporary quiltmakers have been doing fabulous political quilts since the resurgence of quilting in the 1970's. I joined the ranks of political quilt makers when I made a quilt commemorating the second inauguration of President Obama. I was really proud of him (still am) and his achievements as the first black president and someone who shares my beliefs. I showed it at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in my Featured Quilter exhibit that year and had only one complaint about why there were no quilts about President Bush. I said anyone can make any quilt they like and so that wasn't for me to say. If my politics don't match up with your politics, well that's the way it is. You are free to make your political art and I'm free to make mine. That's one of the beauties of this country. Quilts are just one medium for expressing oneself, so it makes no difference to me whether a political opinion is expressed in a drawing, painting, or quilt. In most cases a quilt will take a heck of a lot longer than a drawing or painting so one must feel strongly about it before beginning. I will be submitting my quilts to the United We Quilt website soon. Meanwhile, I will be looking for other possible venues for these three quilts in the future. I'll post here if anything comes up!