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Swaddle: a crochet art project exploring the ways in which female communication helps and hinders relationships with men.

Swaddle is a crochet art project exploring the ways in which women nurture the men in their lives. It looks at silent forms of nurturing but specifically delves into the way that women communicate. Swaddle looks at the positive ways that female approaches to communication improve relationships but also looks at the darker side of how differing communication styles can suffocate relationships.

It is my belief that women are encouraged from an early age to be the solvers of relationship problems and that they do this primarily through communication (or selective silence which is, in itself, a form of communication). I think that this can be a wonderful nurturing thing for the growth of male-female relationships. I also think it has the potential to strangle and suffocate relationships, especially when women aren’t quite sure how to articulate what they’re saying in a way that can be clearly heard.

Why Crochet?

Well, first of all, I love crochet. But here are four other reasons:

  •  Crochet has historically been seen as a female craft and therefore lends itself well to artistic explorations involving gender issues.
  • Crochet is made up of knots and loops. Communication often gets tangled up and repeated so the form is ideal for expressing this.
  • Crochet can easily be used to create both “female” objects (domestic objects, lace, fashion) and “male” objects (math principles, science objects, tools).
  • Crochet is beautiful! There is a small segment of fiber artists and mixed media artists who are working to show off the true beauty and detail of crochet. This project adds to that community voice. It is important that this project explore many detailed aspects of crochet and not just use basic stitches.

Why is it Called Swaddle?

Swaddling is a way of wrapping up babies to protect them. Historically it was done in a way that was extremely binding and restrictive. Modern swaddling is more comfortable although can still be controversial. Either way, swaddling immediately draws to mind the image of the nurturing woman. This project explores how women nurture the men in their lives, in ways that are both traditional and controversial. It explores how that nurturing can help the men in their lives and the relationship between them (as swaddling to care for an infant can be a positive experience between mom and child). It also explores how sometimes that communication unintentionally infantilizes men and eats at the relationship.

What Types of Projects Will Be Created? 

Swaddle is to be made up of 12 – 24 pieces representing the full spectrum of positive and negative communication styles in relationships. Examples of pieces in the collection:

  • 40 Variations on a Granny. This is a repetitive crochet piece showing how the tiniest shift in a stitch can alter the appearance of your work. It represents how small changes in conversations (using “I” statements is a well-known example) can improve relationships. It also references the way that men sometimes feel like the women in their lives are just saying the same thing over and over and so they stop listening. The piece places 40 granny squares side by side, each one a variation on the traditional granny square.
  • It Takes a Village. This crochet art piece is all about how the community affects individual relationships. Women tend to turn to other women to talk about what is going on in their relationships with men in order to resolve problems and get their feelings out without rocking the actual relationship. This piece juxtaposes very frilly, feminine, soft crochet on one side with very hard, edgy, structural crochet on the other side and shows how they blend in the middle and run into one another.
  • Swaddled. This is a collection of crochet swaddling blankets wrapped around representations of male figures. Some are cozy and comfortable, as we expect crochet blankets to be. Some are strangling and suffocating. Some are too loose and the male is exposed. This represents the core idea behind the title project.
Why Support This Project?

Your support will make this crochet art project a reality. It will also:

  • Support independent yarn dyers and sellers
  • Support small businesses that sell yarn and craft supplies
  • Encourage an emerging and developing artist
  • Aid in furthering awareness about the value of crochet and craft in today's society
  • Add to an important conversation about how men and women communicate and how we can improve that communication
  • Allow you to participate and have a say in the creation of an art project

About the Video

Yes, I've included a lengthy video here and it's just me talking. I thought about hiring a videographer to make a really cool video for me since I'm new to working with video. And I intended to edit this video down, take out the flaws and just include the best parts. But in the end I decided that my approach to my art is all about exploring the process and honoring our genuine communication styles and that it made a lot more sense for me to just share with you exactly the way I am and the way I feel about this project.

About Me

I am a writer who has been doing crochet and collage art for awhile now but this is my first foray into a true collection of pieces around a specific theme. I write about crochet at Crochet Concupiscence and will be doing video posts about this project there. Every little bit of support that is offered to grow this project is truly, truly appreciated.

FAQ

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    Every single donor starting at $5 and continuing on will be represented by a single stitch in one project designed to show how communities affect relationships. You'll also get: - Regular project updates - Invitation to opening night exhibition

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    Donors pledging at least $20 will be allowed to select a color, number and stitch type for their representation in the community art piece. That means you get to really have a say in developing the final product. You'll also get: - Regular project updates - Invitation to opening night exhibition

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    All $20 prize rewards, plus you'll get: - Your name and website URL on the literature accompanying the project

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    All $75 prize rewards, plus you'll get - VIP invitation to opening exhibit - Your own OOAK small crochet art piece created just for you

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    All $250 prize rewards, plus - Your name on a plaque next to one of the exhibit pieces

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    All $500 prize rewards, plus - a limited edition book of the art work and accompanying poetry will be completed. You will be represented in the acknowledgments on this book and will receive a copy.

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    All $750 prize rewards plus: - An ad in the sidebar of my blog for the duration of this project - Your own large piece of crochet art from the exhibit - My undying appreciation

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Funding period

- (30 days)