Before we were Mortals by Michelle Kingdom (California)
Art has always been a means of expression as well as a tool for change. From protesters wielding decorative posters ablaze with political stances to curated works of art such as Guernica by Pablo Picasso, art has proven to be as much an aesthetic discipline as well as one fueled by the political, social, and economic climate of the moment. This includes the feminist movement. Starting with first-wave feminism and leading up to the present, artwork (particularly fiber arts) has been utilized by women in an activist capacity for years. With similar ideals in mind, Feminist Fiber Art is taking the DIY scene by storm and spearheading feminist activism through crafting.
Starting in the summer of 2015, Iris Nectar, founder and curator of Feminist Fiber Art, curated a pop-up exhibit in Boston to showcase artwork by women artists from all over the world. From this initial exhibition grew a movement.
Having studied art history at Boston University with a minor in arts leadership and a concentration in African art, Iris wanted to stay connected with the arts while forgoing graduate school. With her knowledge and talent, Feminist Fiber Art has evolved to a community that fosters creativity, expression, intersectionality, and inclusivity, and has managed to install exhibits in multiple cities including Rochester, N.Y., New York, Seattle, Wash., and Boston, with plans to extend to Los Angeles, Calif., on May 27 and Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in early August 2017.
Iris argues that fiber arts should hold no difference in importance to that of “fine art.” Having grown up doing cross stitch with her mother and eventually graduating to running a crafting blog, Iris says, “my love of the medium grew with each new post.”
This community engagement project includes all individuals from any background, ethnicity, or gender expression. Their goal focuses on creating a sense of unity and collaboration in the community while also nurturing the individual through the therapeutic process of crafting. Their website provides information and resources on the history of feminism, activism, and crafting as well as ways to get involved in their many projects.
If you are interested in purchasing artwork, submitting your own, or attending a show, Feminist Fiber Art can be accessed at feministfiberart.com or on Instagram and Twitter @feministfiberart and @feministfibrart, respectively. They have also recently opened a gofundme campaign with the goal of taking the exhibit global.