The Fabric of
 Resistance
Political craft history and
contemporary craft ethics
      Rayna Fahey
We live, dance, sleep, work, craft
 and play on Aboriginal Land
Industrial revolution
• Mass shift from handmade cottage industries to
machine based manufacturing
• End to mutual-aid bas...
Luddites
• Direct action movement
• Started with lace and hosiery workers near
Nottingham
• First attacks in 1811
• “Machi...
Banners
• Began in the Trade Unions in Britain
in the 1840s
• Used iconography to portray lives of
workers, historical inf...
Flags

• Most effective form of creative resistance
• Used to symbolise united visions and goals
• Usually handmade by wom...
Bulgarian Uprising Flag




Sewed by Rayna Knyaginya for the April
      Uprising in Bulgaria 1876
    Text reads ‘Freedom...
Eureka Flag



• Created in 1854 in Ballarat
• Sewed by Anastasia Withers, Anne Duke and
Anastasia Hayes
• Flag continues ...
African Slavery




  Harriet Powers
Suffrage Movement
• First major political movement to use crafts as a form
of subversive communication
• Major utilisation...
A Militant Movement
• The British Suffragettes served over a century of
collective time in prison
• Tactics included:
   •...
Signature handkerchief sewn by Suffragette Janie
Terrano in Holloway Prison, 1912
Chilean Arpillera



•Pinochet regime - numbers of ‘disappeared’ numbered in
the hundreds of thousands.
•Smuggled out to t...
Greenham Common Women’s
       Peace Camp
• Home of controversial military base that housed
nuclear warheads
• Greenham Co...
Global Solidarity Quilt
Project
• Quilts contributed
from many countries
• Attached to the fence
as creative presence
from...
Woven Woolen Webs
• Challenged the
oppressive existence of the
security fences
Craftivism
“…based on the idea that activism + craft = craftivism.
That each time you participate in crafting you are
maki...
Lisa Anne Auerbach
Lisa Anne Auerbach




   lisaanneauerbach.com
Lisa Anne Auerbach




   lisaanneauerbach.com
Cat Mazza
Stitch for the Senate




    stitchforthesenate.us
Sara Rahbar
Iranian-born fabric
artist
Uses flags to make
statements about
American-Islamic
relations and
nationhood
myspa...
Melbourne Revolutionary Craft
           Circle
Sorry Fence
QRacks in the Land
Fabric of Resistance Wiki

• Community based collaborative archive
project
• Compiling historical and contemporary craft
a...
Facing the Future
The Craft Movement is part of a long struggle
for social and political change.
In this time of increasin...
Last year in UK less than 8% of all donated
clothes actually ended up being resold in charity
shops. A part are recycled a...
Textile Production - Bangladesh
Sustainable Options

•Buy second hand
•Make your own clothes
•Buy good quality, sustainable fabrics
•Recycle your waste fa...
love and rage


radicalcrossstitch.com
Fabric Of Resistance MSF 09
Fabric Of Resistance MSF 09
Fabric Of Resistance MSF 09
Fabric Of Resistance MSF 09
Fabric Of Resistance MSF 09
Fabric Of Resistance MSF 09
Fabric Of Resistance MSF 09
Fabric Of Resistance MSF 09
Fabric Of Resistance MSF 09
Fabric Of Resistance MSF 09
Fabric Of Resistance MSF 09
Fabric Of Resistance MSF 09
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Fabric Of Resistance MSF 09

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Fabric of Resistance presentation given to the 2009 Melbourne Social Forum by Rayna Fahey from the Craft Cartel. http://craftcartel.com http://radicalcrossstitch.com

Presentation covers historical and contemporary examples of radical craft activism as well as contemporary craft ethical issues.

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Fabric Of Resistance MSF 09

  1. 1. The Fabric of Resistance Political craft history and contemporary craft ethics Rayna Fahey
  2. 2. We live, dance, sleep, work, craft and play on Aboriginal Land
  3. 3. Industrial revolution • Mass shift from handmade cottage industries to machine based manufacturing • End to mutual-aid based subsistence communities • Concept of work moved out of homes and farms and into centralised factories • Mass unemployment in fabric and textile based craft industries
  4. 4. Luddites • Direct action movement • Started with lace and hosiery workers near Nottingham • First attacks in 1811 • “Machine breaking” made a capital crime in 1812 • 17 men executed under this law • Countless men transported to Australia • Agriculture workers followed lead • Rural riots lead to foundation of the Trade Union movement
  5. 5. Banners • Began in the Trade Unions in Britain in the 1840s • Used iconography to portray lives of workers, historical influences and visions for the future • Use spread to many different political movements • Use of banners continues to this day in diverse forms
  6. 6. Flags • Most effective form of creative resistance • Used to symbolise united visions and goals • Usually handmade by women active in movement
  7. 7. Bulgarian Uprising Flag Sewed by Rayna Knyaginya for the April Uprising in Bulgaria 1876 Text reads ‘Freedom or Death’
  8. 8. Eureka Flag • Created in 1854 in Ballarat • Sewed by Anastasia Withers, Anne Duke and Anastasia Hayes • Flag continues to inspire and unite working people today
  9. 9. African Slavery Harriet Powers
  10. 10. Suffrage Movement • First major political movement to use crafts as a form of subversive communication • Major utilisation of clothing, banners, painting, ceramics, knitting and other fabric crafts as communication medium • Suffrage Atelier - group within Suffrage movement dedicated to producing visual material • Produced at least 15o banners
  11. 11. A Militant Movement • The British Suffragettes served over a century of collective time in prison • Tactics included: • throwing bricks through windows • marbles under police horses hooves • defacing portraits in parliament • burning mansions and churches • Some died for the cause
  12. 12. Signature handkerchief sewn by Suffragette Janie Terrano in Holloway Prison, 1912
  13. 13. Chilean Arpillera •Pinochet regime - numbers of ‘disappeared’ numbered in the hundreds of thousands. •Smuggled out to the international press.
  14. 14. Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp • Home of controversial military base that housed nuclear warheads • Greenham Common Women’s Peace camp was the longest peace camp in history 1981-2000 • Creative resistance was the main form of activism • NVDA, fence art, poetry and song, banners and costumes
  15. 15. Global Solidarity Quilt Project • Quilts contributed from many countries • Attached to the fence as creative presence from women all over
  16. 16. Woven Woolen Webs • Challenged the oppressive existence of the security fences
  17. 17. Craftivism “…based on the idea that activism + craft = craftivism. That each time you participate in crafting you are making a difference, whether it's fighting against useless materialism or making items for charity or something betwixt and between. It's about the not-so-radical notion that activists can be crafters, and crafters can be activists.” From www.craftivism.com
  18. 18. Lisa Anne Auerbach
  19. 19. Lisa Anne Auerbach lisaanneauerbach.com
  20. 20. Lisa Anne Auerbach lisaanneauerbach.com
  21. 21. Cat Mazza
  22. 22. Stitch for the Senate stitchforthesenate.us
  23. 23. Sara Rahbar Iranian-born fabric artist Uses flags to make statements about American-Islamic relations and nationhood myspace.com/ sararahbar
  24. 24. Melbourne Revolutionary Craft Circle
  25. 25. Sorry Fence
  26. 26. QRacks in the Land
  27. 27. Fabric of Resistance Wiki • Community based collaborative archive project • Compiling historical and contemporary craft action, activists and theory • radicalcrossstitch.com/wiki
  28. 28. Facing the Future The Craft Movement is part of a long struggle for social and political change. In this time of increasing political and environmental volatility, crafters should embrace our revolutionary past and use our creative skills to make and inspire change. Direct action and solidarity action through craft will save our planet and all the communities that live on it.
  29. 29. Last year in UK less than 8% of all donated clothes actually ended up being resold in charity shops. A part are recycled as industry wipe cloths and others shipped as charitable aid to the third world countries. Some 7% are not even worth being recycled or further donated, so they end up in landfills. And this is just the clothes people bother to donate to charity. In the UK three out of four unwanted clothes a thrown straight to the bin with out the chance of being reused.
  30. 30. Textile Production - Bangladesh
  31. 31. Sustainable Options •Buy second hand •Make your own clothes •Buy good quality, sustainable fabrics •Recycle your waste fabric
  32. 32. love and rage radicalcrossstitch.com

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