This is a very important moment in the history of 52 Stitched Stories. We are collaborating with Kate Stuart from the Phoenix Green Store on a project entitled ‘The Red Flags Project.’ Not only is the collaboration a creative joining but also a emotional one. Let me start by telling you a wee bit about Kate before letting her tell you a bit about the project.
I have never met Kate face to face but we have known each other virtually for a while. Kate wrote a piece about me and my company, Earth Threads, last year in the magazine No Serial Number. She absolutely nailed it so I contacted her to thank her and let her know how impressed I was about her insightful content in the piece. There began a friendship based on mutual respect, the best kind.
Kate is a writer, artist and environmental activist. She is also a survivor of domestic abuse. That wee sentence is hard to read isn’t it? Kate has an inner strength and determination that is without boundaries and when I learned some of her back story I knew why. One of the things that binds Kate and I is a passion for stories. Stories that emerge from deep within demanding to be told. When I began 52 Stitched Stories I could never have imagined the reach and depth that the project would achieve. Now Kate wants to weave a story and 52 Stitched Stories is standing right by her side.
Kate has had an idea to use creative story telling to make a bold and undeniable statement and we would like you to consider being part of it. She was inspired by reading about the Women’s Quilt which was a project that remembered 598 women who lost their lives to domestic violence between 2009 and 2015. That is another sentence hard to read. Kate has created a Red Flags project that aims to alert women to warning signs of a potentially abusive relationship. Kate wants our help.
Kate is somewhat haunted by a belief that she wished she had known more. She wished she knew the signs to look out for and, in talking to other survivors of domestic abuse, Kate was amazed at the similarity in the stories. Through this project Kate wants to raise awareness and empower women to take necessary action to walk away to a place of safety. She believes that there are ‘nine red flags, each one stitched into the next, all of them coming together to blindside you – intensity, jealously, control, isolation, criticism, sabotage, blame, anger, destruction.’
‘The #redflagsproject proposes a journey together, to share the knowledge, experiences and stories of women who have been affected by domestic abuse, either directly or indirectly.’ The project also wants to create an environment where women can stand next to each other as a show of solidarity and wisdom. When stitching the banner for the social isolation open call I was struck by how powerful it was both as an expression of isolation but also a call for hope. #redflagsproject gives us the opportunity to come together again. There are two linked creative options–
The first is to create a patchwork square to be stitched into a quilt of stories. Kate is coordinating this part of the creative journey so you can send your squares to her and get her address by contacting her via email email@example.com
Details – begin with a piece of cotton fabric measuring 10×10 inches and mark out 0.5 seam allowance. Make sure you keep the seam allowance clear as you work up your design.
The second part of #redflagsproject are postcards that will be stitched side by side to form a banner which will be exhibited alongside the quilt.
You do not have to had experienced domestic abuse to be part of this project. We welcome contributions from women who want to stand next to survivors as well as from women who have been in that awful situation. This is an open and inclusive call. I will receive the postcards so just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org when you are ready.
Details – postcards should be approximately 6×4 inches and can be multi-media. So paint, collage, stitch felt, weave crochet etc – the most important thing is the story.
You may feel moved to write an artist statement about your contribution to the project. Why you joined the project and even something about your own experience. This is a totally optional part of the process, only if you feel moved to do this. We are only using first names and, if preferred, this could be your spirt name (a name you identify with) rather than your real name. These statements can be hand written or typed and will be presented in a hand bound book as part of any exhibition.
The ambition is for the work to travel the country sharing their messages and empowering women and girls across the nation. I am thrilled to place 52 Stitched Stories next to Kate and her vital project that has the potential of making a strong intervention where it is much needed. I hope that some of you will join Kate and I on this journey that tells a critical story that needs to be heard.
Thank you 🙏❤️🧵❤️