Disrupting Domesticity: Reclaiming Ourselves: The Power of Stitch and Story upon a Duster

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    The rise and acknowledgement of ‘craftivism’ has re-established the power that stitch has to hold and perform meaning for women today. From the Suffragette banners of the last century, to hand embroidered samplers embellished with #Metoo, the role of this quiet activism and the power of collective female voices is understood. This paper presents a collection of embroidered yellow dusters (a bright yellow cleaning cloth, popular in the UK), some of which are my own work, and some from a long-standing collaborative research project that invites women to embroider their domestic experiences onto this cloth. I will explore how the creative practice of joining craft to autoethnographic storytelling through hand-stitched proclamations entices change; the power of the duster, which ‘speaks’ of its purpose, to contextualise domesticity’s uniquely female legacy; the potential of phenomenological engagement through stitch to embody our stories; and the purpose of embroidery with its implicitly gendered hierarchy (Kokoli 2016) to create opportunities for empathy and engagement that go beyond that which is verbal. This research makes the personal political, going beyond gentle protest (Corbet 2017) towards a practice of thought through action (Margetts 2011) that transforms craft into a tool for investigation, disruption and storytelling.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2021


    • Craft
    • feminism and gender
    • Visual Culture


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