By Christine Andrä
Last updated 25 November 2020
Banners, blankets, embroidered handkerchiefs, guerrilla knits, quilts, ribbons, rugs, storycloths, textile artworks, tapestries, weavings… there are countless examples of what my co-authors Berit, Lydia, Dani and I, in a recent article, have called “conflict textiles”. In the more than three years since we started our textile adventures, we’ve encountered textile efforts for non-violence, peace, memorialization and social justice literally almost anywhere we turned. Our learning about textiles and peace has been greatly facilitated by textile makers, activists and others whom we’ve had the pleasure to get to know in person, but we have also learned a great deal from online resources – journalistic articles, makers’ websites, and the sheer endless depths of (textile) Twitter.
(A special shout out must go to @womensart1 which, though not dedicated exclusively to needlework, offers stunning textile content aplenty.)
With this blog post, I want to offer a list of freely accessible online resources about all kinds of textile efforts for peace (in the broadest sense), from A for arpilleras to Y for yarn-bombing. For when, if not now, is the time to go deep down a rabbit hole and learn about the amazing political needlework that women and men, over the ages and around the world, have engaged in in their struggles for peace?
And thus, without further ado, let us start with…
- “What is an arpillera?”, a video featuring Marjorie Agosín.
- “Material Acts: Chilean Embroiderers Record Memory Stitch-by-Stich”, by Cecilia Nowell.
- “What is an arpillera?”, by Lorna Dillon.
- “Arpillera”, entry in the Textile Research Center’s (TRC) database.
- “Arpilleras from Chile: Textiles Born from Repression and Made from the Heart”, by Liz Goldner.
- “Hebras de la Memoria – Arpilleras”, Chilean arpillerista group.
- Bordando por la Memoria (a 45 años del Golpe de estado en Chile), a collective from the Chilean exiled community and their supporters.
- “La revuelta de los $ 30 chilenos / The $ 30 Chilean pesos revolt”, example of Chilean post-dictatorship arpilleras by Aurora Ortiz.
- “Soldiers back from the wars – Arpillera trilogy”, by Linda Adams, and “Life with and without Bees”, by Janet Wilkinson; examples of the arpillera technique adopted outside of Chile.
- Derbyshire Women for Peace, a banner used in the Greenham Common protests.
- How to make your own protest banner.
- “It’s No ******* Computer Game”, banner by Thalia Campbell.
- “Greenham Common Peace Camp”, banner by Thalia Campbell.
- The “Greenham Common Banner”, held at the Peace Museum of Bradford.
- Banners and Knitting at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, by Catherine O’Donnell.
- UCU Strike Banner.
- See also S for suffragette banners.
Borda Sus Ojos
- “In Chile, Women Use Traditional Embroidery to Urge Political Change”, by Cecilia Nowell.
- Collection of individual embroidered pieces.
Climate data, rendered in textile
- “Trump Is Trying to Pull the Wool Over Our Eyes about Climate Change – These Knitters Aren’t Having it”, by Clara Chaisson.
- “The Quilters and Knitters Who Are Mapping Climate Change”, by Rebecca Onion.
- CO2 Emmissions Pullover.
- “The Show-Stopping Fashion of Namibia’s Herero Tribe”, by Alyssa Coppelman.
- “Agnes Richter’s Jacket”, by T. Röske.
- Traditional Palestinian embroidery as political statement, by Andrea Jeska [in German].
The Common Threads Project
- “Common Threads Project”.
- “Some Trauma Really Is Unspeakable. So These Women Are Sewing Their Stories, Instead”, by Rachel A. Cohen.
- “Craftivism: The Communal Gift of Crafting”, an interview with Betsy Greer.
- “A Stitch in Time: How Craftivists Found Their Radical Voice”, by Nosheen Iqbal.
- “An Open Letter to the Craftivist Movement”, by Julia Feliz.
Embroidered piece of cloth from Nazi concentration camp Ravensbrück
- “Yehudit Taube”, Yad Vashem [scroll down for the strip of cloth embroidered with names.]
- A tapestry replica of Guernica by Jacqueline and René de la Baume Dürrbach hanging just outside the chamber of the UN Security council in New York has been the subject of a political controversy.
- A 3D crocheted Guernica, by Italian yarn-bombing collective Sul filo dell’Arte.
- The Keiskamma Guernica (South Africa)
- “Mi Guernica/My Gernika”, a Basque arpillera, Conflict Textiles Collection.
Embroidered handkerchiefs from Mexico
- “The Activists Using Embroidery to Protest Mexico’s Murder Epidemic”, by Lauren Cocking.
- “Following the Threads from Mexico”, by Danielle House.
Embroidery after genocide
- “Savane Rutongo-Kabuye: Embroideries of the Women of Rwanda”, by Alex Kahl.
Hmong embroidery story cloth
- The Hmong Embroidery Society, offering a range of online exhibits, too.
- On story cloths and storytelling, by the Kansas Historical Society.
Indian textiles, a political history
- “India’s Sumptuously Beautiful Textiles Reveal Painful Histories”, by Alina Cohen.
- “Stitch by Stich, a Brief History of Knitting and Activism”, by Corinne Segal.
- “Knitting as Dissent: Female Resistance in America sine the Revolutionary War”, by Tove Hermanson.
- “100 Years of People Knitting”, by Claire Voon.
- “Knitting in Black History Month”, by Gaye Glaspie aka GGmadeit.
Malaya Embroidery project
- Fotos of embroidered blankets (malaya) made by South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, by the Malaya Project).
- “The Malaya Project story”.
Mapula embroidery group
- “The Mapula Embroidery Project”.
- “Managing Mapula: Designing Markets for an Embroidery Project in Post-Apartheid South Africa”, by Brenda Schmahmann.
- “Mapula and Karosswerkers Embroidery Co-Operative Groups”, by Kate Wells.
MemorArte: Arpilleras Urbanas
Mola from Panama’s Kuna community
Post-conflict textiles in Colombia
- Mujeres Tejiendo Sueños y Sabores de Paz.
- “War and Memory”, by izi.travel.
- “El Conmovedor Relato de las Mujeres que Ganaron el Nacional de Paz”, by John Montaño [in Spanish].
The Palestinian History Tapestry
- The Palestinian History Tapestry Project.
- “Radical Objects: The Palestinian Tapestry: A People’s History”, by Jan Chalmers.
The Peace Ribbon
- “Thousands Tie ‘Peace Ribbon’ Around the Capitol”, by James Gerstenzang.
- “The Ribbon International”.
- “Nebraskans and the Ribbon for Peace”, by Megan Brookhouser.
- Queen Lili’uokalani of Hawaii’s Quilt
- Emma Civey’s “Women’s Rights Quilt”.
- Harriet Powers’ Bible and Pictorial Quilts
- “The Enduring Significance of Harriet Powers’ Quilts”, by Samantha Moreno.
- “Harriet Powers: A Sermon in Patchwork”, by Julie Henkener.
- “My Feminist Quilt”, by Darci Read.
- Migrant Quilt Project:
- “Stitching an Image of the Human Cost of Crossing the US Border”, by Sarah Rose Sharp.
- “The Migrant Quilt Project Remembers Lives Lost Along the U.S.-Mexico Border”, by Katherine Davis-Young.
- “The Rajah Quilt”, by Tom McLean.
- “Hilvanando la Busqueda / Stitching the Search”, a quilt by Nicole Drouilly to commemorate her disappeared sister and brother in law.
- “A Peacekeeper’s gift”, a quilt by Carolyn Mazloomi.
- “Quilts as Tools for Resistance”, by Renée Reizman.
- “These Embroiderers Are Stitching a United Declaration of Human Rights Quilt”, by Cecilia Nowell.
- “Stitches Tell the Tale of a Woman’s Mental Anguish”, by Stacia Briggs, on Lorina Bulwer’s sampler.
- Elizabeth Parker’s Sampler.
- “Studying for US Citizenship One Stitch at a Time”, by Karen Ducey, on samplers with questions from the US Citizenship Test.
- British Indian Sufragettes
- Japanese Suffragettes
- UK Suffragettes
- “‘Here Comes the Devil’: Welsh Suffrage and the Suffragettes”, including a silk banner, by Elen Philipps.
- “Cardiff Women’s Suffrage Society Banner Comes Home”, by Allison Harvey.
- “The WSPU Holloway Banner”, by TRC Leiden, and “The Hollowayettes”, by Museum of London.
- Suffragette handkerchief
- “Hannah Ryggen Wove Politics Into Her Gorgeous Tapestries”, by Hettie Judah.
- “The Anti-Fascist Tapestries of Hannah Ryggen”, by Zachary Small.
- “Klassenbewusst und humoristisch”, by Mira Nass [in German].
- “Feminine”, by Tara Abdulla.
- “The Sunset’s Last Rays”, by Jordan Nassar.
- “Portrait of a Textile Worker”, by Terese Agnew.
- “Girls Gone Wild”, by Claudia Akhsa.
- “World Map”, by Vanessa Barragã.
- “Warm Gun”, by Natalie Baxter.
- “National Geographic June 1985”, by Lauren DiCloccio.
- “Suspended”, by Arabella Dorman.
- “Blutspur / Bloody Tracks”, by Heidi Drahota.
- “Exquisite Uterus Project”, by Alison Gates.
- “Continuum”, by Eileen Harrison.
- “Twelve Windows”, by Inaash Collective and Mona Hatoum.
- “Kill for Peace”, by Severija Incirauskaite-Kriauneviciene.
- “Refugee Island”, by Mehwish Iqbal.
- “Pink M.24 Chaffee Tank”, Marianna Joergensen.
- “We are seeds”, by London Mexico Solidarity.
- “Disappeared”, by Irene MacWilliam.
- “Identity”, by Rachelle Romeo.
- “Etiopia / Ethiopia”, by Hannah Ryggen.
- “Embroideries”, by Marjane Sartrapi.
- “Anonymous was a Woman”, by Miriam Schapiro.
- “Digital Death”, by Deborah Stockdale.
- “Thinking of You”, by Alketa Xhafa-Mripa.
- “A Stitch During Time: Artists and Prisoners Sew Together – In Pictures”, by Beth Dean.
- “Presencia de Edime Peirano / Edime Peirano’s Presence”, by Ana Zlatkes.
- “Nos hacen falta / We miss them”, by Rosa Borras.
- “Survivalist Sampler” series, by Sera Waters.
Textiles in official post-conflict mechanisms/truth and reconciliation commissions
- Quilt Series presented to the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
- Arpillera “Ayer – Hoy” presented to the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
- Amazwi Abesifazane – Voices of Women, a textile project conceived in reaction to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
- “How Yarn Bombing Grew into a Worlwide Movement”, TED Talk by Magda Sayed, maker of the “Knitted Knitted Gun”.
- “Yarn Bombing Project Helps Homeless in Calgary”, by Danielle.
- “Chilean Yarn Bombers Plot Knitting Revolution”, by Maryrose Fison.
- “Yarn-Bombing Artist Sets Out to Crochet Across the US”, by Andrew Salomone.
You’ve still not had enough of conflict textiles? Then check out the digital collections of (political) textiles provided by the Conflict Textiles Collection, the Storycloth Database, the Textile Research Centre Leiden and the Museo Textil de Oaxaca.
Is there a textile initiative, collection, reading that should be added to the list? Or you are having a textile project of your own that should be featured? Please get in touch and let me know!
This text is based on work of the international collaborative research project “(Des)tejiendo miradas sobre los sujetos en proceso de reconciliación en Colombia / (Un)Stitching the subjects of Colombia’s reconciliation process”, jointly supported by the Colombian research council Colciencias (project reference FP44842-282-2018) and the British Newton Fund (project reference AH/R01373X/1) and hosted by Aberystwyth University, UK, the University of Antioquia, Colombia, and the Association of Victims and Survivors of Northeast Antioquia, Colombia.
“Mi territorio, mi manto de colores” [My territory, my colourful blanket], by Colectivo de tejedoras Municipio de Argelia, Antioquia, Colombia; 2017
Project: “Tejer a varias manos, una pedagogía para disoñar planes de vida territorial.” Facultad de Enfermería Universidad de Antioquia, Asociación Campesina de Antioquia, INER U de A. 2016-2018
External Links Disclaimer
This Site contains links to other websites or content belonging to or originating from third parties or links to websites and features in banners or other advertising. Such external links are not investigated, monitored, or checked for accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness by us. WE DO NOT WARRANT, ENDORSE, GUARANTEE, OR ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY INFORMATION OFFERED BY THIRDPARTY WEBSITES LINKED THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY WEBSITE OR FEATURE LINKED IN ANY BANNER OR OTHER ADVERTISING. WE WILL NOT BE A PARTY TO OR IN ANY WAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR MONITORING ANY TRANSACTION BETWEEN YOU AND THIRDPARTY PROVIDERS OF PRODUCTS OR SERVICES.