Thursday, November 30, 2017

Viewers react

The “Threads of Resistance” exhibition was well received at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Minneapolis, MN. The next stop? The Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Mass., where it will be shown December 9, 2017 - February 18, 2018. 

Here are comments from viewers at the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Minneapolis, MN:

Absolutely loved the “Threads of Resistance” exhibit and cannot understand why some were “warned” off. We live in a diverse country and art should NOT be censored!

The Threads of Resistance exhibit was must amazing and worthwhile. Too difficult to find. Unfortunately, this exhibit was not available for all men of Minnesota and women, too. We all need to see these pieces of art and how they represent our life today.

I loved seeing the Threads of Resistance Display. I know it’s controversial but art is self-expression, so since you had that to draw me in, I’ll be back nexst time. 

The Resistance quilt display was fantastic. Found it very moving and would recommend it to people who do not sew.     

Loved the “Stitch the Resistance” quilt display. This is modern, forward thinking.

The Quilt displays were wonderful. We – a group of us – were thrilled with the fabulous “Threads of Resistance” political quilts. What a display – so inspiring to see talented artists/quilters speaking out on important women’s, race, political issues that impact us all. WELL DONE EXPO !!! So impressive!!

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the Threads of Resistance display and congratulate you on your courage to include it. The artistry and eloquence of the quilters was truly inspiring. Thank you, thank you, thank you.  

The Threads of Resistance Expo was fabulous. I am glad that you were brave enough to present it. Thank you!

And comments from viewers at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell MA:
Love this show: talented, brainy artists

Thank you all soooo much
I feel extremely emotionally empowered. Women working together and making art can save the world.
Made me think!
Inspiring, Powerful!
The art helps channel, express, focus the rage and terror. We must unite and act.
Wonderful exhibit. Heart wrenching at the same time.
Very much impressed by the way these women express their discomfort - strong!
Very powerful - good to know quilts can be a method of resistance.
Thoughtful expressions of what I am feeling.
Completely blown away. Art/artists like these give me hope.
Moving, powerful, now more than ever.
Powerful and so hopeful for our future.
Stunning – overwhelming. 
Like group therapy, thank you!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Quilting Arts magazine covers "Craftivism"

Have you seen the new issue of Quilting Arts magazine? Several of the articles are about protest art. “Threads of Resistance” is mentioned in Cate Prato’s article “Craftivism: Taking a Stand with Needle and Thread.” It has photos of “She Persisted” by Betty Busby, “Not So Safe” by Amy Dame, and “What Does an American Look Like” by the Pixieladies. 

Betty Busby’s piece in the story about Craftivism.
There’s also an article on Chawne Kimber, who makes quilts with strong social messages, some dealing with issues of race. 

A gallery of quilts from the “HERstory: A Celebration of Strong Women” exhibition commemorates the upcoming 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. 

“With the Wind and the Stars” by Ricki Selva featured in an article about the HERstory exhibition.

Make sure to read Vivika Hansen DeNegre’s editor’s note: she makes the point that this is not a quilting magazine; it’s an art quilting magazine, and that art often makes a social or political statement. 

As expected, covering this topic – and including controversial pieces on the Quilting Arts blog –  has drawn the ire of some readers who don’t agree with the artist’s views, or who think art quilts should only be pretty and not political. Recent Quilting Arts/Quilting Daily blog posts that reference Craftivism are here:

Saturday, July 29, 2017

ToR featured on TV news in Lowell, Mass.

Threads of Resistance is getting more media coverage. Here's a segment from a local television news station in Lowell, Mass., where the New England Quilt Museum – the exhibition's first stop – is based. Sue Bleiweiss, one of the members of the Artist Circle Alliance, is featured. 

You can watch the episode on YouTube below. The ToR segment starts at the 7:30 point.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Opening day!

The opening reception for the Threads of Resistance exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum on Saturday, July 15, 2017 was a huge success! Twelve of the artists were in attendance and the galleries were packed with visitors who came out for the opening. 

Nora Burchfield who is the executive director of the museum opened the reception...

(From left:) Judy Coates Perez, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Sue Bleiweiss

Pam Weeks, the museum’s curator (who you can see in the video above standing to the right of Nora) spoke for a moment and then Artist Circle Alliance members Judy Coates Perez, Leslie Tucker Jenison and I spoke about the exhibit and how it came together.  We kept our statements brief so that people could get to the reason they were there – to look at the fabulous artwork!

And there were a LOT of people who came out for the opening. The galleries were packed!  I had some really wonderful conversations with the visitors and didn’t take nearly as many photos as I was planning to, but I did manage to snap a few here and there. (Some of these photos were taken by Judy Coates Perez.)


It was wonderful to see people lingering in front of pieces, taking in the details and talking with the artists who were in attendance.

The museum has done a wonderful job with how they've grouped the pieces and set up the lighting for them.  The pieces are well lit and there are no barriers to stand behind so you can get really close to the artwork to view the details.

The exhibit spans all of the walls of the large classroom area and there are several more pieces in a separate room located off the main room.  

It seems that no matter how many times I look at each piece I always find some new detail that I didn’t notice before. This is definitely an exhibit that you’ll want to take your time with when viewing. There is so much detail and nuance in each piece. 

The exhibit will hang at the New England Quilt Museum through Saturday, September 9, 2017.  Then it will travel to Santa Clara, California where it will hang at the Pacific International Quilt Festival October 12-15, 2017. 

On its last day at the new England Quilt Museum, I (Sue Bleiweiss) will be doing a gallery lecture at 11 a.m. I’ll be talking about the Artist Circle Alliance and how the Threads of Resistance exhibit came to be, as well as the challenges we faced when we announced it and the logistics of putting together a large-scale traveling exhibit.

You can see the complete travel schedule for the exhibit here. To see all the artwork that was submitted to Threads of Resistance click here.

13th venue added to exhibition schedule

A new venue has been added to the Threads of Resistance schedule! The exhibit will on display at the The Charlton Sewing Center in Charlton, Mass, from Oct. 15 to Nov. 4, 2018. 

The Sewing Center, located in a former Methodist Church whose congregation outgrew the space in 2004, has a large display area. Because of its location, it calls itself “New England’s Sewing Sanctuary.” Learn more at the Charlton Sewing Center website here:

ToR will now be exhibited in 13 venues in 11 states through November 2018 (a 16-month run!)

Here’s the entire schedule:

Premiere dates: July 11 - September 9, 2017
July 11- September 9, 2017
New England Quilt Museum
18 Shattuck Street, Lowell, MA 01852
Santa Clara, CA

November 9-11, 2017  
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo
Minneapolis, MN  

December 9, 2017 - February 18, 2018
Fuller Craft Museum
Brockton, MA

Reception: Jan. 21 

March 8-10, 2018  

March 15-17, 2018  

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo
Lakeland, FL

April 5-7, 2018  

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo
Cleveland, OH  

June 4-9, 2018  

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo
Arlington, TX

July 18-20, 2018  

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo
Raleigh, NC

August 3-24, 2018
Experience Fiber Art

The Wilder Building
Rochester, NY
Oaks, PA

October 4-6, 2018  

Original Sewing & Quilt Expo
Fredericksburg, VA

October 15 - November 4, 2018
The Charlton Sewing Center
Charlton, MA

American Craft magazine mentions ToR

“American Craft” magazine included information about the “Threads of Resistance” exhibition in an interview by Betsy Greer with Fuller Craft Museum’s chief curator, Beth McLaughlin, in its August/September issue. 

“Threads of Resistance” will be exhibited at the Fuller at the same time as an exhibit of Pussyhats and related craft called “Revolution in the Making,” a look at the role of craft and art in the protest against the Trump administration’s actions and policies. 
“Threads” runs Dec. 9, 2017 - Feb. 18, 2018, and "Revolution" opens on the anniversary of the Women's March, Jan. 21, 2018.

Monday, July 17, 2017

“Tears For America” by Rebecca Fellows

“Tears For America” by Rebecca Fellows
photo by Ken Sanville

This is one in a series of posts featuring an artist whose work is included in the Threads of Resistance exhibition.

Artist’s Statement:
Guns and gun violence have intruded into our daily lives. Nowhere is safe. Mass shootings, violence against women and “accidental” deaths of children by unsecured guns is rampant. Gun rights enthusiasts want guns everywhere – schools, churches, parks, theaters. And gun rights politicians refuse to let the CDC study gun violence as a major health problem. My question is “WHY?” Why do we need guns everywhere? Why guns in schools? Why guns at the grocery, in the workplace, at the movies, on playgrounds? Why?

Hear a message from Rebecca about her piece below:

“100 Days” by Jamie Fingal

“100 Days” by Jamie Fingal

This is one in a series of posts featuring an artist whose work is included in the Threads of Resistance exhibition.

Artist’s Statement:
100 days of pure outrage every day. Something different and outrageous with fake news, alternative facts and issues that shook the core of my being. I got up and got involved in the fight. These words have stuck with me, the things that mean the most. I shake my head every day at the bait and switch and the tearing apart of our country. Call your representatives and let your voice be heard.

Hear a message from Jamie about her piece below:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

“Not So Safe” by Amy Dame

“Not So Safe” by Amy Dame

This is one in a series of posts featuring an artist whose work is included in the Threads of Resistance exhibition.

Artist’s Statement:
After the Nov. 8, 2016, election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, a trend emerged on social media. Wearing a safety pin was celebrated as an easy way to show support for those negatively affected by his win, and the idea spread rapidly.

Those in favour of the concept claimed that a simple safety pin attached to one’s coat would show that person to be a “safe space” for people who were being further marginalized by Trump and his followers. As the idea grew, even people who voted for Donald Trump celebrated it as a way to show the world that the wearer was “still a good person,” despite voting to limit or deny the basic human rights of others.

People who were actually affected by Trump’s racism, misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, ableism and more were less enthusiastic. While certainly some People of Colour (POC), immigrants, LGBTQ, or Muslim people appreciated the thought, many more questioned why a true ally would need a visible symbol of their support for human rights. Wouldn’t they be visible as an ally because of their actions? Wouldn’t marginalized people learn that they were trustworthy because the person has been taking actions and speaking out against oppression as they witness it?

Oppressed people know all too well the history of well-meaning allies who claim to support them, while simultaneously keeping quiet, refusing to take actions that might endanger their privilege, or outright causing harm to the people that they purport to protect.

While many of the people who wear safety pins may have the best of intentions, marginalized people have no way of knowing which of those safety pins will pop open and harm them, which means that the safety pin movement really doesn’t symbolize anything other than the guilt of privileged people looking for forgiveness from those who are oppressed.

Hear a message from Amy about her piece below: