Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Art, Art History, and Design
Knitting the Resistance
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Crafting Political Protest from the 2017 Women's Marches

July 21 - September 16, 2017

The January 21, 2017 Women’s March raised the hand-knit and hand-sewn pink pussyhat to iconic status. In conjunction with the 201 6 presidential election, Kristah Suh and Jayna Zweiman started the Pussyhat Project to make “a unique collective visual statement.” Using Kat Coyle’s design for a simple knit hat with cat’s ears, protestors around the world adapted an innocent visual pun as a rejoinder to then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump’s vulgar use of the term in 2005 to refer to  women’s genitalia.

The pussyhat stood as a visible symbol uniting not only in Washington D.C. but in sister marches around the world with almost five million marchers.  The marches not only consisting of women but recognizing all those that support women’s rights..  The march was a response to the presidential race but as stated in their mission, “We were answering a call to show up and be counted as those who believe in a world that is equitable, tolerant, just and safe for all, one in which the human rights and dignity of each person is protected and our planet is safe from destruction.”  That unity was extended through social media surrounding the creation and distribution of pussyhats-from individuals knitting for family members and friends, to knitting circles and clubs, to craft shops and suppliers.

This exhibition features pussyhats, signs and other ephemera from the MSU Museum’s Craftivism Collection. In addition, artist Beth Miller facilitated the loan of over 350 pussyhats made by 132 crafters. These pussyhats created for Solarfest’s Arts + Activism project in Vermont will be traveling to the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts for an exhibition marking the one-year anniversary of the Women’s Marches.

We would like to thank exhibition curators Shirley Wajda, Mary Worrall, Lynne Swanson, and Molly McBride and the crafters nationwide who donated and lent their pussyhats and March ephemera to make this exhibition possible.