So, at the Carnival Conference, I presented a talk and a stitch workshop. The talk was based in how Mary Wollstonecraft described embroidery as “the silken fetters that keep women in chains” and how I disagreed with this point of view. I wanted to illustrate the power that could be found in sewing circles or in quilting bees, so I laid out a large woollen blanket and thick woollen threads and got the participants to sit around it and stitch whatever they fancied on the blanket. The point was to get them all to talk to one another, share experiences and the like, that sewing was to become secondary: a reason why we’re all together but then make bonds of our own.
It was the first time I’ve ever done anything like this, and I think it went really well. I got positive feedback and I definitely want to do it again. It was a really nice space to have in the conference, away from the academia and just a focus on us.
The varying things that people did were really interesting. From words, to simple pictures, cobwebs, french knots, one participant even stitched the outline of her hand.
The blanket was later exhibited at a party that night. The fantastic ‘Lashings of Ginger Beer‘, a radical feminist queer burlesque troupe, used the blanket as a makeshift changing room throughout their set. Pretty proud of myself!