subversive quilts

The feature post last week by quilt artist Chawne sure did raise a few issues and I would like to discuss a few of them here. First up though I want to say that I admire Chawne and her work and her artistic integrity, she is a wonderful skilled crafter and she creates from the heart. I featured her work on whipup for precisely those reasons and will continue to feature artists and makers whose work is real and raw, as well as the nice and practical and the thoughtful and artistic, just as I have done since whipup first launched over 6 years ago.

We have featured a variety of art/craft over the years – everything from crochet coral reefs to knitted poo, penises and boobs (yarn body parts warning), from knitted tank cosies to radical cross-stitch (language warning), from crafting politics to human hair as yarn, from knitted graffiti to public embroidery – if you are interested in exploring more check out our art+design category.

A few issues that were raised in the comments included those discussing the ‘quilt’ and its place in politics and art, many people were offended by the use of certain words but many others found the work to be as thought provoking as I did. Many quilters and crafters may not realise that quilting has a long and strong tradition of political and social activism, when I posted a series of Obama crafts a few years ago there was a strong reaction to politics raising its head in the craft world, so I want to reiterate that women throughout history have used craft as a way to have a voice in a male dominated world and I am sure that women will continue to claim their craft to voice their opinion or protest or to just speak their creativity.

You might like to read this thoughtful essay at the Quilt Index by Marybeth Stalp and titled In the Shadow of the Quilt: Political Messaging in Quilts

…those quilts that do not incite “fuzzy” and “comforting” feelings, but instead those that highlight and address publicly the social reality of inequality, racism, sexism, oppression, and the like.  I also examine quilts that communicate subversive, ironic, and sardonic messages. [Excerpt from essay]

A few folks were worried that their children might happen upon a few crass words online and as a parent myself I didn’t think twice about sharing those images with my kids and in fact it was the catalyst for a really interesting discussion about American history as well as the way language is used in our society.

Many readers were down on whipup for posting this and some even suggested that I remove the post as they found it ‘offensive’ and ‘disgusting’, and there were a few more ugly words thrown in there that I personally found way more upsetting and distasteful than the words that appeared on the quilts. Of course I won’t be removing the post, and I will continue to defend and showcase a wide variety of crafts here at whipup, just as it is your right not to read this website if you choose. However one point did emerge: it seems that many of you wanted a more defined language warning — that I will rectify for next time.

Thanks for reading