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Embroidery's history as a form of activism and self expression has been seen in many cultures around the world, including India, England and Middle Eastern societies. Closely tied with feminism and women's right, embroidery has been a way to record female lives, histories and beliefs.
Below is a first step into the history and impact of embroidery in activism and although not complete, this guide is meant to help facilitate research into the subject.
Resources for Embroidery
Resources for finding embroidery-based protest and activism groups. Most embroidery groups meet online and are not restricted by location. Please note, this is a limited list.
Spanish-speaking protest group working to reclaim space in Mexico by raising awareness about homicide victims through embroidery.
The Subversive Stitch by Rozsika Parker
Publication Date: 2010-04-15
Rozsika Parker's re-evaluation of the reciprocal relationship between women and embroidery has brought stitchery out from the private world of female domesticity into the fine arts, created a major breakthrough in art history and criticism, and fostered the emergence of today's dynamic and expanding crafts movements.
Threads of Life by Clare Hunter
Publication Date: 2019-10-15
A globe-spanning history of sewing, embroidery, and the people who have used a needle and thread to make their voices heard.
Embroidery in Protest
Journalist Aysha Mahmood discusses the power she found in feminism and embroidery in her TedTalkx. This talk exemplifies how embroidery has grown out of a place of expectation and traditional feminist ideals into a way for women to express themselves. If you are interested in looking at Mahmood's work you can find it here.
An interesting essay on an early example of the use of embroidery as a way for people to express political ideas during times of oppression. Particularly, this essay talks about the connections between the Perwich female family members and a embroidered cabinet's needleworked illustrations, revealing that the cabinet illustrates the Book of Ruth. This essay is evidence of the use of embroidery as a form of political expression as early as the 17th century.
This essay is a reflection on the female artists at Glasgow School of Art who were the first women in Scotland to encroach on its hitherto masculine artistic stronghold. This particular excerpt focuses on needlework. This essay is evidence of the use of embroidery as a form of protest and artistic expression in the 1960's
Before the AGM started Craftivist Collective handed out 250 special handkerchief craft kits with a Living Wage message printed on them to shareholders, so that particpates can stitch too, to support the Living Wage.
An essay on the group Fuentes Rojas. Particularly, this scholarly paper looks at the project Bordados por la Paz (Embroidering for Peace), which uses embroidery to use their work to give voice to people who have suffered from the Mexican-American War on Drugs. The paper examines how textiles can provide language and how the very act of embroidery can be therapeutic and cathartic.