EXPLORING RESILIENCE, RESISTANCE AND REGENERATION THROUGH THE EMBROIDERIES OF THE INCARCERATED
"Embroidery is a global phenomenon, a form of decorative art rooted in textile practices that dates back as far as modern humans have created cloth. The art of stitching - whether by hand or machine, for practicality or pleasure, crosses the boundaries of time, place, gender, race and class; it is a practice intertwined with humanity itself. It can be surmised that this seemingly simple and often overlooked act of craft carries a weight of psychological, social and cultural value particular to the human condition, as many scholars are now attempting to unpick from numerous angles within the wider framework of the academic study of textiles. This essay focuses on one subgenre of stitching, exploring examples of embroidery and needlework created by imprisoned, incarcerated or confined people throughout history and in the modern day as a means of demonstrating the mental, cultural and political value. I believe they also demonstrate the importance of these acts of making as forms of resilience, resistance and regeneration, themes which feature heavily in my own research and work as I seek to discover what craft, and specifically stitch, can bring to the human condition as a form of self-actualisation and expression."
EXPLORING THE HISTORIC AND SOCIAL VALUE OF "THE RED DRESS" BY KIRSTIE MACLEOD
"Throughout history one of the key identifying features of human community and the evolution of culture has been the crafts that were passed down the generations, taught from person to person, traded between cultures and carried on long migrations."
ART OR ARGUMENT: EXPLORING THE POWER OF SEMIOTICS IN CRAFTIVISM THROUGH THE WORK "THE LAST SUPPER" BY JULIE GREEN.
"Painter Julie Greens work The Last Supper (2000-2021) is a collection of hand painted blue and white plates that make commentary on capital punishment in the USA by depicting images of the final meals of death row inmates. Green has skilfully deployed semiotics to create layers of meaning in The Last Supper in a way that effectively challenges its viewers to deeply contemplate the subject of capital punishment. The gentleness of this approach demonstrates how craft can be used in activism to effectively promote social change."