Sunday, October 14, 2012

Meet Up with Frau Fiber

Made possible by an art exhibition entitled Opening the Black Box: The Charge is Torture.   A call was put out by Frau Fiber (the founder of the original Sewing Rebellion) for local stitchers to join the Chicago Chapter of the Sewing Rebellion in a stitch-in at the Sullivan Galleries.   The task was an interactive one: to work on a prison bed-size quilt within the exhibition space, as a way to commemorate the cases of torture by the Chicago police.

As the host of the monthly gathering of the Sewing Rebellion in Chicago, it was my great pleasure to finally meet Frau Fiber (now living in L.A.) in person for the first time.  
Frau and I happy to see each other at the gallery!

See pic of the opening and quilt after the break...

Oh, and what I'm wearing...a made-from-scratch, refashioned top & scarf


a couple of Chicago Sewing Rebellion workers on task

detail of stitching face of victim
detail of stitching one of the stitchers

more volunteer stitchers!
You can view even more images about the quilt at my Sewing Rebellion - Chicago Pages, if you'd like.  The exhibition will be up through December 21 at the Sullivan Galleries, 33 S. State St., 7th flr.

Frau and I were also able to get together the next day over cafe au lait and chat about her next big project at Jane Addams Hull House here in Chicago.  Stay tuned.

And I'll be heading over to Patti's Visibles at Not Dead Yet Style as well as Monday Mingle.   Also Ta-Dah Tuesday plus Ethical Fashion Bloggers: Best of October Challenge.  Come on, join us.

24 comments:

  1. What a cool project! There is such incredible power held by a bunch of women with needles... Frau Fiber is fantastic for generating art and drawing women together to work, play, and speak out, and sew, yes. Thanks for introducing this, Pao.

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    1. Yes, the entire show was really something. I've admired Frau's work for years and only recently got involved with the Sewing Rebellion after I started Project Minima.

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  2. What an incredible project, to create something beautiful to highlight such brutality. I'd love to join such a fantastic project and to hang around with such inspiring women, too. xxx

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    1. The prison bed-size quilt project actually involves the creation of 130-some individual quilts, a unique one for each of the torture victims. So Frau's volunteer quilting project is going to be an ongoing, long term, traveling endeavor that will probably get some funding.

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  3. I love the idea of a "stitch-in" for the exhibition. Makes the effort and intention that went into the quilts more visible. I'll be on the look out your news of Frau Fiber's next project.

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    1. Me too. People were quite drawn to it, either standing around watching, taking photos and/or joining in and stitching.

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  4. Wow, what a fantastic project to be involved with! So happy to see this

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    1. Who knows, it is supposed to tour. Maybe you'll see it sometime in a city near you...in Australia?! I mean Frau does work globally.

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  5. Wonderful and scary project a the same time! It's great that Police brutality isn't ignored, and scary that there actually is Police brutality to highlight!

    When have these incidents occurred? I hope it isn't anything recent.

    I love the beautiful pattern mix on your top!

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    1. From 1972 to 1991 over 110 men were allegedly tortured in Chicago’s Area 2 district under Jon Burge’s command. He was eventually fired by the Chicago Police Dept. in 1993, but given a full pension. In 2008 5 of the torture victims filed a civil suit against Burge, and in 2010 Burge was convicted on obstruction of justice and perjury and was sentenced to 4.5 years in federal prison. All other police officers involved in the torture cases have been acquitted or cleared of any wrongdoing. Some of their victims had served over 30 years in prison for crimes they had not committed.

      The art exhibition is an attempt to make public these atrocities and to continue on where the justice system has shamefully fallen short.

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  6. What a great project. The workmanship is beautiful, and the story behind it tragic. It's a great way of bringing up something people need to know about, and a great way to keep it visible.

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    1. Yeah, I think so too. Even though it's not something you want to think about, it's still there, it still happened, and it's been swept under the rug. It only came out at all because an alternative newspaper broke the story in the 1990's.

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  7. Wow what a project! Would love to see the finished quilt. It's shocking to see that the torture was going on for so long and until pretty recently. Torture in the 90's in a civilised country seems inconceivable.

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    1. The abuse of power in a civilized country to the point of torture does not surprise me. How long it went on without anyone leaking the info does. What I find shocking is how the justice system seemed to be co-opted into doing little to nothing about the crimes/criminals once they were exposed.

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  8. Unbelievable but true. This project is amazing and I'm so glad you've made me aware of it. I'm also reminded that for hundreds of years, women's voices weren't heard, except in the domestic sphere. The fact that this is using a domestic art form as a means of protest is particularly poignant and important. I wish I could've joined you.

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    1. Yes, I love the fact that it's called "A Stitch in Time" and that it's a quilt for each of the 130 tortured men wrongly convicted who spent time for a crime they did not commit.

      The idea that each man will be re-membered with an individualized quilt created stitch-by-stitch by their community using donated fabrics, while working together in public places...is "particularly poignant and important."

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  9. Your joyful faces are beacons in the midst of this important project. I love the ongoing association of group sewing and activism. Wonderful!

    (Frau's and your outfit also coordinate beautifully! nicely done!)

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    1. I noticed that too. You can be sure Frau's outfit was made-from-scratch and designed by her, not to mention utilitarian!

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  10. Such a great project to be involved with and I'm not surprised that you're a part of it. A sewing rebellion indeed! You and Frau are radiant in these photos!

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    1. Hey Judith! So nice to hear from you with all your traveling about. Yes, we're stitching up some trouble in these parts - in a good way, of course.

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  11. This is great Pao. Who knew such things are happening in the world? Thanks to you, now I do. I wonder if there's a Sewing Rebellion chapter in Virginia.
    As usual your outfit is stylish and creative.

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    1. Hey Sheila, you can find out by clicking on the National Sewing Rebellion and seeing where the chapters are located. Or just start your own sewing rebellion if there isn't one, like I did.

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  12. Fascinating project, it's so interesting how groups across the world are using craft as a form of activism.

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    1. Yes, sewing especially, as it's so non-violent, so much considered women's work and about taking care of things, and communal, etc.

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