Explore Fiber is a collaborative website showcasing and exploring fiber as a fine art material.
I have a lot of fiber friends throughout the U.S., but there are several that are close to my home in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. With so much happening in the world these days, there are several fiber arts advocacy projects that people are participating in. Stay tuned for a short series in this blog about fiber artists using their work to advocate various issues that surround us today. My first interview is with Lu Peters, a regular contributor to the blog on this site. I asked her about her contributions to the Violet Protest (this project is still active and you can jump in!) and our conversation began….
Tell us how you heard about the Violet Protest and why you chose to participate?
I read about it online and mentioned it to Christine who had recently featured it on ExploreFiber blog. I was immediately incentivized to sign up for the Protest as a way of dealing with my frustration and upset over the divisiveness and disunity of both Houses of Congress. The list of American core values defining this project includes many of the words I am using in much of my fiber art this year and I saw this as another powerful vehicle of expression.
What process or technique are you using for your squares?
My eight inch squares are pieced half red, half blue cotton fabrics and have hand or machine embroidered words : civility, respect, compassion, compromise, candor, country over party, country over corporate influence, citizenship, creativity, courage, and Black Lives Matter. Each block also has machine stitched, fused appliqué and is edged in variegated threads. Appliqués are stars (for patriotism) and hearts (for caring).
How many squares do you think you will submit?
I have submitted ten and have 100 more ready to tag and mail in!
As you have been working on the squares, and listening to the news, what thoughts or feelings have bubbled up for you?
I was especially affected by both the isolation and mishandling of the pandemic and by the murder of George Floyd. I wanted to find a way to have my voice heard, and to have my urging for positive changes seen by members of Congress.
Why do you think the fiber arts are a good medium for advocacy projects?
I believe that the tactile nature of fiber art appeals to humans on a very basic level. We are swaddled at birth, wear textiles, sleep on them, and are always surrounded by them, then ultimately shrouded in textiles at death. This constant presence and familiarity gives us an innate affinity for fiber art.
Tell us about the other textile art projects you create.
I am an art quilter, a wearable artist and recently have been exploring the ancient Japanese technique of Boro visible mending. My work centers around themes such as social commentary which has included the global monetary market, privacy issues, and gun violence.
Are other projects advocacy statements?
How does working with fibers make you feel?
I feel empowered and rejuvenated when I work, and I endorse the findings that needlework, sewing, knitting, etc. are meditative and have healing effects on the mind and body.