The Sewing Cir­cle Method of Work­ing Under Cover

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Patchwork Panel: Conceptualising Seams that Separate and Stitch Together

Presentation Title:

  • The Sewing Cir­cle Method of Work­ing Under Cover

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • Panel: Patchwork Panel: Conceptualising Seams that Separate and Stitch Together

    This pre­sen­ta­tion is a means of con­cep­tu­ally ex­am­in­ing the sewing cir­cle as under cover method to in­duce power into an un­equal power struc­ture. I will in­tro­duce his­tor­i­cal as well as artis­tic pre­de­ces­sors. His­tor­i­cally, the sewing cir­cle seems to have been used dis­guis­ing power under the cloak of meet­ing for an os­ten­si­bly lesser cause while re­ally dis­cussing im­por­tant mat­ters. Women have cre­ated semi-se­cret dis­cus­sion groups, let the men have the for­mal power, but not for­mally re­nounced the power of in­flu­ence. The sewing so­ci­ety is an­other ex­am­ple of a covert pub­lic realm where women have turned the un­paid time to ben­e­fit the com­mu­nity. It is more open in form than the closed cir­cle and is known to have ex­isted in Swe­den at least since 1840. Through­out the twen­ti­eth cen­tury this labour has been pro­fes­sion­alised within hand­i­craft as­so­ci­a­tions while lately ven­tur­ing into re­la­tional aes­thet­ics. Dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion I will ex­em­plify with some of the many con­tem­po­rary artists who have con­tin­ued to use the under cover method of the sewing cir­cle as well as the power to trans­form pri­vate house­hold chores into pub­lic art.

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