Textile efforts for peace

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…

Arpilleras

Banners

Borda Sus Ojos

Climate data, rendered in textile

Clothing

The Common Threads Project

Craftivism

Embroidered piece of cloth from Nazi concentration camp Ravensbrück

Guernica, remade

Embroidered handkerchiefs from Mexico

Embroidery after genocide

Hmong embroidery story cloth

Indian textiles, a political history

Knitting

Malaya Embroidery project

Mapula embroidery group

MemorArte: Arpilleras Urbanas

Mola from Panama’s Kuna community

Post-conflict textiles in Colombia

The Palestinian History Tapestry

The Peace Ribbon

Quilts

Samplers

Suffragette banners

Tapestries

Textile art

Textiles in official post-conflict mechanisms/truth and reconciliation commissions

War Rugs

Yarn-bombing

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.

Or consider supporting textile projects by buying Afghan embroidery, Zapatista embroidery, a South Sudanese embroidered milaya or one of the pieces from Fine Cell Work.

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!


Acknowledgements

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.


Featured Image

“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


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