Crafting Democracy: Rochester, New York

Photo Credit: Caitlin Meives

Photo Credit: Caitlin Meives

Crafting Democracy seeks to demonstrate the ways in which craft is employed as a tool of expression that gives voice to people who seek an active role in democracy. ”

Curators Hinda Mandell and Juilee Decker organized a collaborative art installation to pay homage to the women of the Anti Slavery Sewing Society in Rochester, New York. Installed at the former site of Frederick Douglass’ home, over 40 people contributed a textile art square to pay homage to the past.

It was a pleasure to embroider a square that says “TELL THE FULL HISTORY” (seen below) as my contribution for the temporary art installation. .

My contribution to the Crafting Democracy temporary installation in Rochester, New York.  Photo Credit: Caitlin Meives

My contribution to the Crafting Democracy temporary installation in Rochester, New York.

Photo Credit: Caitlin Meives

Photo Credit: Caitlin Meives

Photo Credit: Caitlin Meives

Other contributors chose to knit or crochet pieces. While some pieces were minimal, others included architecture, flowers, patterns, etc.

Temporary art installations allow storytellers to try new methods of raising awareness for the past in addition to encouraging a variety of contributors to creatively find their own way to tell the story.

To learn more about the history of craftivism, I highly recommend you read Crafting Dissent: Handicraft as Protest from the American Revolution to Pussyhats. I had an opportunity to read an advance copy of this text, which is a collection of essays edited by Hinda Mandell and it was not only inspiring, but it was illuminating. The texts highlight women’s history and influence over time through handicraft.