The repetition of women’s work so often goes unrecognized. These marks, marks of time and effort made by the passing of a needle, draw my attention.
—Holly Bechiri, editor in chief at cultured.GR
Through my studio practice, I employ craft and the grid to represent gendered labor, another term for “women’s work.” This labor is the backbone of our society yet is overlooked and undervalued.
Redwork gets its name from a special type of red thread developed in Turkey more than 200 years ago. Prior to its development, thread was not colorfast, which meant that colors would bleed in the wash. As a result, colored thread was not used in quilts or on garments. With the introduction of a colorfast red thread, quilters and embroiderers could add color to everyday items.
The parallels I’ve marked between our natural world and that of women’s work is the descriptive language. Words like “threads”, “weave”, and “linked” are often used to describe these crafts, but they are also used to describe the actions performed by soil microbes and their relationship to the roots of trees.