Let’s Celebrate International Women’s Day!
On International Women’s Day, we asked some of our fiercest female clients to share their thoughts about IWD, about themselves or about whatever they felt was important to them. Here are some words from Lydia Gluck at Pom Pom Mag.
Hello! I’m Lydia, one of the directors and editors of Pom Pom Quaterly (the other is the wonderful Meghan Fernandes), an independent craft and knitting magazine based in London, and in Austin Texas.
The cover of our most recent issue – Issue 20: Spring 2017
With the political happenings of 2016, and the Women’s Marches that followed, International Women’s Day feels more pertinent this year than ever. As one of the directors and editors of a knitting and craft magazine, I am part of an industry in which many of my peers identify as women. Here at Pom Pom our full time staff consists of five women, and we work with awesome freelancers all over the world, most of whom are female.
Three of our five staff members. From left to right: Meghan, Lydia and Amy.
It might not surprise you that within the craft industry there are many women, but it continues to surprise me. There is nothing inherently female about knitting or crocheting, in fact in many places and times it was completely acceptable for men to knit, but right now, in the UK and USA at least, making things out of yarn is still a predominately female activity.
Craft has many uses, some are practical (keeping heads and hands warm), but for many of our readers knitting and crochet are a hobby that can be meditative as well as intellectually engaging. Sometimes both at once! Knitting can involve complex geometry or can just involve repetitive action that accompanies your favourite TV show. Another, less talked about use, is in activism. Craft and activism have a long history, and more recently the term ‘craftivism’ was coined by Betsey Greer, and used in positive and thoughtful ways by activists such as Sarah Corbett of the Craftivist Collective.
Which brings me to one of the more obvious recent examples of craftivism in action. The Pussy Hat Project. The Pussy Hat Project called for knitters and crocheters to make simple pink hats to wear on the day of the Women’s Marches, as a visual statement of collective support of the rights of women.
Some Pom Pom team members and pals at the London march.
Here at Pom Pom we were invigorated by the success of the Pussy Hat Project. A Pussy Hat was featured on the cover of Time magazine and Missoni even sent models down their catwalk in Pussy Hats. Photographs from the Women’s March on Washington show a sea of pink hats, each representing a handmade symbol of solidarity, whether made by the wearer or by a friend, or even a stranger who couldn’t attend the march but wanted to show their support. The hats also showed up in their thousands at sister marches all over the world. The visual impact was stunning, all that pink, all that yarn, all that time put into making something meaningful.
The project was hugely successful, but also sparked debate inside and outside the crafting world. Debate around the use of a certain word to describe the hats, around use of pink, and around inclusivity. We felt there was an interesting conversation to be had, around all these topics, but especially about where we can go next.
So we set up a live youtube panel, hosted by artist, designer, and Pom Pom columnist Anna Maltz, to talk about the Pussy Hats, along with other prominent voices from the craft and activism communities. The video is still available to view here, and we hope it’s interesting to everyone, whether you knit or do not!
x Lydia + Pom Pom