Students and faculty celebrated Coming Out week on Tuesday by working on a community quilt while listening to a speaker who spoke about “using quilts as a mechanism for political activism.”
“Tools that were once discarded [because of] their association with women’s work is now something that can propel social justice movements around the world, and it’s part of a movement we call craftivism,” said the art history professor. Shana Cooperstein has a group of about 20 quilters. “Craft is a conjunction of craft and activism, and it’s a term that was coined to…describe a form of activism based on craft practices.”
Hosts for the event were the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, the Radical Knitting Club and the Genders and Sexualities Alliance. The quilters made LGBTQ-themed squares.
Event attendees worked on creating individual quilt squares, using materials such as felt, fabric markers and sewing scraps. Members of the Radical Knitting Club, which meets regularly, will eventually sew the pieces together to create the community quilt.
Heather Rellihan, professor of gender and sexuality studies and chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, said the inspiration for the event was “the idea of the quilt as a metaphor” for community.
“It’s focused on, sort of, individual pieces that look best when they’re…combined,” Rellihan said in a pre-event interview. “We kind of wanted to take that metaphor and move it into the literal space by asking people to create quilt squares that kind of speak to their experience at AACC.”
Forrest Caskey, professor of college literacy and academic advisor for the GSA, read essays by the late writer and activist Audre Lorde after the guest speaker ended.
The quilting session was “another great event in a series of great events for” Coming Out week, said third-year communications major Grace Bourne, president of GSA. “I can’t wait to come back next year.”