The "New" Subversive Stitch
Paper presented at the Textile Society of America biennial symposium, 2016
This paper explores contemporary artistic iterations of what scholar Roszika Parker first theorized as the subversive stitch. While acknowledging Parker's significant contributions to the study of embroidery, I reflect critically on the elisions in her account most notably, the complete lack of attention to the sewing practices of poor, ethnic and immigrant women and women of color. This paper proposes a substantial shift away from historical understandings of sewing as a cis-female gendered, individual and domestic and activity, proposing new and more inclusive understandings of subversive sewing as a more public, collaborative, participatory, and politicized act today. Examples include works by artists and activists Bren Ahern, Danica Maier, Aram Han Sifentes, LJ Roberts, Chiachio Giannone, Bordamos Por la Paz, and Walking With Our Sisters/Christie Belcourt.
Thanks to the Craft Research Travel Fund at the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design for their support of this research