Extra/ordinary

518pthu7g5L

Rebellious Doilies and Subversive Stitches: Writing a ‘Craftivist’ History

Focusing on knitting, this essay briefly examines what might be gained and what is lost through the erasure of a historical trajectory of radical practice. To get at this question I briefly discuss the latest, phoenix-like emergence of craft across a number of seemingly disconnected scenes and scenarios, including the global art world and the front lines of protest, to suggest some possible, though not encyclopedic, reasons for their simultaneous emergence and disconnect from previous histories of resistance. Is it possible that the political effectiveness of radical craft practice relies inherently on the gendering of textile work? Is it possible, in other words, that the way that knitting, embroidery and quilting are used to make political change in some spheres requires their subjugation in others? This uncomfortable suggestion explains the paucity of attention paid to activist crafting practice during the late 1980s and early 1990s as debates over issues of identity and representation made the use of craft as a weapon difficult at best precisely because of the way that it made use of the essentializing stereotypes of womanhood and domesticity. It also offers a possible explanation for the resurgence of “craftivism” as debates over identity politics have in turn been eclipsed by analyses of global capitalism, neoliberalism and the attendant shift of (some) scholarly attention away from difference and towards analysis of connection, flows and networks.

Read the chapter here.
Advertisements

About Kirsty Robertson

Kirsty Robertson is an Associate Professor of contemporary art and museum studies at the University of Western Ontario.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: