Crocheted Strategies: Women Crafting their Own Communities

Jefferies, Janis K.. 2016. Crocheted Strategies: Women Crafting their Own Communities. Textile, 14(1), pp. 14-35. ISSN 1475-9756 [Article]

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In 1987 Virago Press published Women and Craft. Su Richardson was one of the co-editors and contributed an interview with Gaie Davidson called “Crocheted Strategies: A New Audience for Women’s Work.” The book was an outcome of the Feminist Arts News 1981 “Craft” issue which raised a number of questions about the relative status of crafts and arts and the value-level derived from women’s assigned status as “other” than artist. In turn, this emerged out of Feministo, a postal art project instigated by Kate Walker from 1975–1978. Women who trained in art schools in the 1960s and 1970s, such as Su Richardson, Monica Ross, and Walker, communicated with each other in the media of domestic crafts, sewing, knitting, and crochet to represent their lives and work from within the home.

Alexandra M. Kokoli, curator of the exhibition of Richardson’s work “Burnt Breakfast” and other Works (2012), wrote in the press release of the same title that:

Su Richardson’s homemade objects explore domesticity, femininity and their mutual implication from a distinctly feminist point of view. The exhibition included the iconic crocheted ‘full English’, in which the womanly skill of crochet is used against the grain, to express in a humorous manner a growing dissatisfaction with patriarchal gender roles, and also to challenge the hierarchical division between art and craft.

This article explores the relevance of these ideas in the context of the recent resurgence in craft, particularly in textiles and particularly amongst the indie crafters and activists who are able to refer to feminist histories and practices yet not feel bound by them. On the other hand, handcrafting can be mobilized as a statement on domestic roles firmly based within the language of empowerment and enacted through collaborative practice-based work encompassing several disciplines, social media and public engagement. Forty years on there is another kind of news from the crafts community, propelled by social media and a renewed interest in the politics of crafting but not necessarily the crafting of politics.

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craftivsm, communities, politics, feminism, social media

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13 June 2016Published Online
3 May 2015Accepted

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Date Deposited:

10 May 2016 09:52

Last Modified:

20 Jun 2017 10:33

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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