AACC community crafts quilt for Coming Out Week


Photo by Mecaël Yuan

AACC students and faculty create a quilt as a form of “Craftivism,” a type of politcal activism based on the practices of craftmaking.

Tomi Brunton, Reporter

Students and faculty celebrated Coming Out Week on Tuesday by working on a community quilt while listening to a speaker who talked about the “use of quilts as a mechanism for political activism.”

“Tools that were once dismissed [because of] their association with women’s work are now something that can propel social justice movements around the world, and this is part of a movement we call craftivism,” art history professor Shana Cooperstein told a group of approximately 20 quilters. “Craftivism is a conjunction of craft and activism, and it’s a term that’s been coined to … describe a form of activism based on practices of craftmaking.”

The event’s hosts were the Gender and Sexuality Studies program, the Radical Knitting Club, and the Genders and Sexualities Alliance. The quilters crafted squares with an LGBTQ theme.

Participants at the event worked on creating individual quilt squares, using materials such as felt, fabric markers and sewing scraps. Members of the Radical Knitting Club, which meets regularly, eventually will sew the pieces together to create the community quilt.

Heather Rellihan, a professor of gender and sexuality studies and chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies Department, said the inspiration for the event was “the idea of the quilt as a metaphor” for community.

“It focuses on, kind of, individual pieces that are more beautiful when they’re … combined,” Rellihan said in an interview before the event. “We wanted to kind of take that metaphor and move it into the literal space by having people create quilt squares that kind of speak to their experience at AACC.”

Forrest Caskey, a professor of academic literacies and faculty adviser for the GSA, read essays by the late writer and activist Audre Lorde after the guest speaker finished.

The quilting session was “another great event in a line of great events for” Coming Out Week, third-year communications major Grace Bourne, the GSA’s president, said. “I’m looking forward to coming back again next year.”