Monday, May 22, 2017

Traveling exhibition

Here’s the list of pieces that will be a part of the Threads of Resistance traveling exhibit. You can see all the submitted work, as well as these pieces selected for the traveling exhibit, on the website at

Julia M. Arden : Dawn Patrol
Mel Beach: RE$I$TAN¢E
Alice Beasley : Feeding Time at the Swamp 
Susan Bianchi : Liberty Marches
Sue Bleiweiss: My Body My Rules
Mary L. Bolton : My Flag, Our Colors
Barbara Brandel: The Disgrace – Words and Deeds
Tanya A. Brown: Game Over
Tanya A. Brown: Gusher
Susan Brubaker Knapp: Poisonous Words
Sandra Bruce: Zahra, Age 5, Syrian Refugee
Betty Busby: She Persisted
Allison Chambers and Emily Robbins: Lady Justice
Liberty Assaulted: Judy Coates Perez
Maryte Collard: The Kiss
Shannon M. Conley: Listen Louder Than You Sing
Phyllis A. Cullen: Death of Science
Amy Dame: Not So Safe
Tricia P. Deck: Our Fractured Homeland
Rebecca Fellows: Tears for America
Jamie Fingal:100 Days
Linda L. Friedman: Speaking Out
Kerri Green: Equality
Neroli Henderson: Dear Mr. Trump
Sylvia Hernandez: Flint Water
Audrey J. Hyvonen: False Dichotomies (I Don’t Fit in Your Box)
Sara Kelly: I Pledge
Lyric Montgomery Kinard: Still Yearning
Kristin La Flamme: #notnormal
Ann M. Lee: Word Power
Jessica Levitt: Equal Means Equal
Katherine H. McClelland: Speak Truth
Sara Mika: Political Power Grab
Gillian Moss: Next Target?
Karen S. Musgrave: Hands Off!
Kathy Nida: Work in Progress
Kathy Nida: Absolutely Nothing
Ellen F. November: Capitol Guns
Do Palma: Seeking Refuge
Do Palma: Nevertheless, They Persisted
Heidi A. Parkes: There’s Something Between Us
Julie Parrish: Get Woke
Claire Passmore: We Walk Together in Search of Liberty
Kelli N. Perkins: Unplugged
The Pixeladies: Deb Cashatt and Kris Sazaki: What Does an American Look Like?
Susan V. Polansky: Not To Be Tabled
Sandra Poteet : Chasm
Sheila H. Riess: Don’t Shoot (Until You See the Whites of Their Eyes)
Emily K. Robertson: A Day to Remember
Cyndy M. Rymer: Roe v. Wade Must Stand
Candace Hackett Shively: Learn to Question – Learn to Lead
Sarah Ann Smith: Speak Up, Speak Out
Amy D. Sullivan: Patriotism
Melanie Testa: Toxic Masculinity Must End
Denny (Denise) C. Webster: Women’s Rally, Greenville, SC. January 21, 2017
Julie Weinstein and Fran Sharp: Fill 1,000 Seats
Leni L. Wiener: Tears of the Grandfathers
Hope Wilmarth: Resist
Martha Wolfe: Privileged Times
Kathy York: Women’s March 2017: By the Numbers

We received submissions from 45 U.S. states, and 7 other countries. Here is the breakdown for all the works that were submitted:
AK 2
AL 2
AR 14
CA 84
CO 8
CT 9
DC 1
DE 1
FL 7
GA 2
HI 2
ID 1
IL 6
IN 4
KS 2
KY 1
LA 1
MA 45
ME 4
MD 11
MI 13
MN 7
MO 6
MT 2
NC 12
NJ 1
NM 2
NY 24
NH 2
NJ 5
NV 2
OH 6
OK 2
OR 17
PA 10
RI 5
SC 4
TX 19
TN 3
UT 1
VA 16
VT 4
WA 4
WI 12
WY 1
Canada 7
Australia 2
Italy 1
UK 3
New Zealand 1
Saudi Arabia 1
Lithuania 1
For the traveling exhibition, here is the breakdown:
AZ - 1
CA - 16
CO - 1
HI - 1
IL - 1
MA - 9
ME - 1
MD - 1
MI -1
NC - 2
NY - 4
NJ - 1
NM -1
NV -1
OK - 1
OR -1
PA - 2
SC - 1
TX - 5
VA - 1
WI -2
WY -1
UK -1
Canada - 1
New Zealand - 1
Lithuania -1
Australia - 2

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Threads of Resistance received more than 550 submissions in response to its call for entries.  It was truly an emotional experience for all of us as we reviewed each and every artwork and artist statement. 

You can view all the art submitted, and read the artists’ statements, on the website here:

Art is displayed within the category chosen by the artist when she/he entered her/his work. There is a slideshow option to make it easier to go through all the art.  

We are humbled by the knowledge that we were able to create a platform for so many artists to make their voices heard. We believe it’s important for all of these artworks to be seen, regardless of whether or not we were able to include them in the traveling exhibit, and so we created a website to give every artist who submitted a piece an opportunity to have their artwork seen and their voice heard.

We hope to announce the quilts that will be a part of the traveling exhibit by Monday, May 22, 2017. Everyone who submitted a piece for consideration will receive an email with the results.

– The Artist Circle

Monday, May 8, 2017

“Poisonous Words”

“Poisonous Words”
by Susan Brubaker Knapp, copyright 2017 (34.5" x 23.5")
Wholecloth painted, free-motion quilted. White cotton fabric, acrylic textile paint and ink, wool batting, cotton thread, commercial cotton fabric (backing)

“Poisonous Words” is my entry for the “Threads of Resistance” exhibition, which will premiere at the New England Quilt Museum July 11, 2017, and then travel to 11 other venues, including museums and quilt shows. I am one of ten artists organizing this exhibition. 

It is based on a sketch I made during the campaign, and features a painted and thread sketched portrait of Donald Trump with a copperhead snake going in his ear and out his mouth. He is surrounded by a cloud of his own poisonous words. 

I hated making this quilt. I hated it that I felt I had to make it. Working on this piece – seeing these words and hearing Trump’s voice saying them — made me physically nauseated.

“When someone shows you who they are,
believe them the first time.” 
– Maya Angelou

I was greatly disturbed by things Donald Trump said during the presidential campaign, and by the words he used. It was amazing how many women I know who were horrified to hear people using the word “pussy” or talking about pussyhats, but who brushed off Trump’s “grab ’em by the pussy” comment as “boys will be boys” or “locker room talk.” So much of what came out of his mouth were racist, misogynistic and xenophobic insults. 

For our democracy to succeed, and for us to solve vital problems our country faces, we must be able to discuss important issues with civility and respect, to listen to others’ views without insulting, even if we completely disagree. Finding common ground – even a small patch of it – is impossible without this. If these kinds of comments are considered acceptable for our president to say and tweet, then they become acceptable for others. They are a poison that infects us all. 

I believe that the rise in hate crimes, as documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and other organizations, is a direct result. Words have power. Words often lead to actions. The poison is spreading. 

All of the words in this piece are those of Donald Trump:

Nov. 13, 2015, campaign speech in Fort Dodge, Iowa: Trump said he wouldn’t reveal his secret plan to destroy ISIS, but “I would bomb the shit out of them. I’d just bomb those suckers. I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, I’d blow up every single inch — there would be nothing left.”

July 13, 2016, on Twitter: “Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot - resign!”

Trump called Alicia Machado, Miss Universe 1996 “Miss Piggy,” because she gained weight after the competition. He also called her “Miss Housekeeper,” and “Miss Housekeeping,” apparently because she is Latina. “She was like an eating machine,” Trump told Howard Stern in a radio interview in February 1997.

Presidential announcement speech, June 16, 2015: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

In 2005, Donald Trump made the following comments in an interview with Billy Bush for the TV show Access Hollywood: “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything. …I moved on her and I failed, I'll admit it," Trump can be heard saying in the video. “I did try and fuck her. She was married.”

In 2011, attorney Elizabeth Beck told CNN that she was representing clients who were trying to get their condominium deposits back from Trump after a failed real estate venture in 2011. She said that she had been taking a deposition from Trump when she asked for a break to pump breast milk. “He got up, his face got red, he shook his finger at me and he screamed, ‘You're disgusting, you’re disgusting,’ and he ran out of there.”

Feb. 11, 2016, at a rally in New Hampshire, Donald Trump told voters to reject local companies who move business overseas: “You can tell them to go fuck themselves.” (He mouthed the word, but didn’t say it out loud.) 

Oct. 19, 2016, at the final presidential debate, Donald Trump said Hillary Clinton was “such a nasty woman” while she was answering a question about how she would raise taxes on the rich to tackle debt and entitlements if she were to become president.

August 2016: After a presidential debate moderated by Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly, Trump said she “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

Dec. 7, 2015, statement on Muslim immigration: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” 

After Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter said Trump had short, stubby fingers in the 1980s, Trump has repeatedly responded, sending him photos of his hands. In a 2011 New York Post article he said, “'My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”

Friday, March 31, 2017

My thoughts: Jamie Fingal

This post was written by Jamie Fingal. It is one in a series of posts by members of The Artist Circle, explaining why we organized the Threads of Resistance exhibition, and our feelings about the role of art and artists in our democracy. Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. 

I have to admit that I have never been a political person. I was raised in a staunch republican family. We even had one of those Richard Nixon posters - now more than ever! on a wall in our house. I changed parties because I wanted to fight for women’s rights. My body, my choice and voted for Barbara Boxer. You see I believe that every woman should be in charge of their own bodies. Government has no say about my body or anyone else’s for that matter. I support Planned Parenthood and all that they provide to women. Abortions are a small part of what they do. Don't like abortion? Don't have one.

I am a believer in God and the teachings of Jesus. He was a dark skinned middle eastern Jewish man. And He was friends with everyone, no matter their color, origin, station, period. He was kind, loving, compassionate, caring, gracious, generous and grateful. This is who I follow. I consider myself to be spiritual, and not religious.

Before the election and after, I have become even more aware of what is happening around me. I have educated myself in ways that I didn’t think were possible. I am a sponge who wants to read everything about the men in power of our amazing country. All of my “free reads” on Facebook with the news media have expired. I finally broke down and subscribed to the New York Times. I am just devastated where we are right now. There is so much hate, violence and a great division between people who follow 45 without question, and the rest of us who have a million questions as to why this is happening. Make American Fear Again is what is being sold to us right now.

What better way to express my feelings and passions, than through my art. I did not participate in the march, for physical reasons, but I may take the risk of my health to walk in whatever march comes next. This is too important to pass up, in my humble opinion. My sketchbooks have always expressed my deepest emotions. That is no secret. I am thankful that I can draw to show how I am feeling. Our current administration’s plan is to take our country down to the studs, and frankly take away many things that I hold dear. The women’s right to choose, equality, public education, clean water, clean air, our constitutional rights, LGBT, medical care, pre-existing conditions, medicare and social security. We the People have a voice!  

Online registration is open through May 1, 2017 here:

Saturday, February 25, 2017

My thoughts: Judy Coates Perez

This post was written by Judy Coates Perez. It is one in a series of posts by members of The Artist Circle, explaining why we organized the Threads of Resistance exhibition, and our feelings about the role of art and artists in our democracy. Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. 

If you’re on Facebook you’ve probably already heard about a new exhibit opportunity called Threads of Resistance organized by a group I belong to called the Artists Circle. This is an opportunity to create textile art that will go on tour throughout the US over the next 2 years, with 12 venues already on the schedule, and opening at the New England Quilt Museum on July 15th. I encourage you to read our mission statement for the exhibit.
This all began a couple weeks ago, when several friends and I were discussing how stressed out we’ve felt since the inauguration in a private group on Facebook. Before long we began talking about making artwork to process our feelings, which then led to the idea for an exhibit.

I think many of us feel like we have no voice in a situation where policy is being put in place on a daily basis, that’s in direct opposition to America’s moral fiber. Sorry if you disagree with this belief, but my understanding is that America was founded on equality and justice for all, not just financially comfortable white people. And no matter how many red flags go up, and ‘REAL’ news stories are broadcast, (ones that would typically have taken down a democrat in power 10 times over for even the slightest of these infractions) NOTHING changes. The feeling of powerlessness to stop the wheels that have been set in motion is palpable.

For the most part, my work always has a story behind it and many of my art quilts have been cathartic in nature, especially over the last 8 years. I find making art incredibly healing, you can read an article I wrote about that process here and you may remember a couple months ago, after the election, when I was so filled with despair, I started making prayer flags to find some peace of mind.

“Being an artist means forever healing your own wounds and at the same time endlessly exposing them.”  ― Annette Messager
I get why so many Americans felt left out of the recovery from the recession, I’m one of them. My ex and I lost our home and life savings and will never fully recover from everything we lost, but I don’t blame the democrats. I blame the drastic economic shift in wealth that happened during the recession, aided by Wall street. I blame the CEO’s of banks that pocketed money the government gave them to help people like us with modifications on our loans, by giving themselves astronomical bonuses instead. The ultimate gall is to see 45 appoint someone who profited from the foreclosure on thousands to a position in charge of the economy.

Getting ahead is not about how hard you work, the hardest workers in this country are most often the poorest. The truth is money makes money, and when you don’t have it, it’s nearly impossible to climb back out of the hole of poverty. So why would I trust a “billionaire” who doesn’t pay his workers, (or taxes!) and instead files bankruptcy to avoid his debts? He is far from being a friend of the working class.

Never in my lifetime did I think we would have white supremacists in a place of power and influence in the United States. That is terrifying on so many levels!

In regards to that and the economy, we certainly don’t want to deport all our immigrants. Do you think Americans are going to do the back breaking labor of agricultural workers, especially at a pay scale that still makes food affordable for the rest of the country?

Our planet is in jeopardy. I don’t know about you, but I like clean air, safe drinking water, and want to protect the health and welfare of people. Our future should be working towards clean technologies, protecting national parks and environments, and not making nefarious oil barons wealthier. We have rules against profiting from policies while being in a government office, that are blatantly being ignored.

We have a president with the communication skills of a 3rd grader, and the inappropriate behavior of a lascivious adolescent. He’s a narcissist and a pathological liar.  He even boldly lies about things we can see with our own eyes aren’t there, and thinks we should believe something’s true because he says it is? I don’t think so! He has proved himself untrustworthy. Why else would there be national security leaks? They are going over his head to inform the American people of his dangerous behavior and policies.

In the mean time, he’s trying to reduce our trust in the judicial system, along with valid news sources like any authoritarian dictator. Thank god for our hard working news outlets, they are our daily check on reality in the dystopian twilight zone of present day America.

The hardest part of this, is watching the republicans not lift a finger to stop the injustices that are happening. They’re more concerned with getting their policies passed and saving their jobs, than our country. I realize by speaking out and making work that may be inflammatory, that I too am jeopardizing my ability to work in a job I love, but I think doing nothing and staying silent in the face of losing our democracy, is a far worse offense.

Obviously, I’m angry, and afraid, and so I’m going to make art about it. I’ll tell you now, it won’t be pretty, I’ve been haunted by an image that came to me the morning after the election, and this exhibit feels like the impetus I’ve needed to put it on fabric.
“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” – Cesar Cruz
If you’d like to submit work to Threads of Resistance, the call for entries is here and there is also a Facebook page you can follow and submit inquiries, if you have them. We are determined to keep it a troll free zone.

Monday, February 20, 2017

My thoughts: Sue Bleiweiss

This post was written by Sue Bleiweiss. It is one in a series of posts by members of The Artist Circle, explaining why we organized the Threads of Resistance exhibition, and our feelings about the role of art and artists in our democracy. Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

I worked on writing this post for over a week.  Why you ask?  Because I’m going to wade into a subject that up until a week or so ago I have been silent on - yup I’m going to talk politics.  Now I know this is going to come as an unexpected (and for some of you unwelcome) surprise because you’re used to seeing me post pictures of colorful whimsical art and talking about things related to being an artist and I promise that I will continue to do that but for today I’m going to talk a little politics.  Those who know me well, know that I am by nature a very private person who
isn’t all that comfortable sharing my views on things not related to art on my blog or on my social media accounts but I’ve reached a point where I just can’t stay silent any longer.  It’s time to stand and speak because what’s going on in our country right now, this day, this moment is deeply troubling.  The levels of divide, hate and fear are at levels that I’ve never seen before and I find it very distressing. 

Last week I experienced quite a bit of that hate and fear when I posted on my facebook page about my involvement in the Threads of Resistance exhibit and I’m still befuddled by the amount of anger that was hurled my way because of it.  I am proud to be one of the organizers of the exhibit.  What better way is their for artists to express their views on a subject than by making a piece of art?  There is a long history of artists using art as a medium to expressing their displeasure with politics, economic, environmental and social injustices.  But when I posted about my involvement with the Threads of Resistance exhibition I got a lot of negative responses filled with hate and rage over the idea of using the art quilt as a medium to express my views.  I was told that I was spreading hate, that I should be ashamed to protest the new president in his first weeks of office, to give him a chance (anybody who suggests this is clearly getting their news from reliable sources), I should go to another country where I don’t have any rights, that I was a “stupid idiot” and a few other things that I won’t repeat here.

Suffice to say that I was pretty taken aback by some of the comments and what struck me first was that these people who were accusing me of dividing the country, promoting hate and fear sent me emails filled with hate and vitriol - the very thing they were accusing me of.  Now I think we can all agree that right now the country is suffering in a lot of ways and depending on which side of the fence you are sitting on you may or may not agree with me on how and why it’s suffering.  And that’s fine because we’re all entitled to our opinions but what we should be able to agree on is that name calling, bullying and emails filled with hateful words are not going to help. 

I am dismayed at the direction that the current White House administration is taking the country.  I am afraid for the environment, womens reproductive rights, refugees, the idea of lies and fake news becoming the norm and a whole lot of other issues - a list that is sadly too long to go into here.  But instead of retreating to my studio, burying my head in a pile of fabric I’ve decided to stand, make my positions known and resist the temptation to shrug it all of and become complacent and accept it all.  There is too much at stake to do that and one of the ways that I’ll do that is through my involvement with the Threads of Resistance Exhibit.

Art is man's challenge to time, his rebuke to chaos; the protest will survive neither the triumph of fire, nor the finality of ice — but it is better than the silence of consent. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer

Friday, February 17, 2017

My thoughts: Susan Brubaker Knapp

This post was written by Susan Brubaker Knapp. It is the first in a series of posts by members of The Artist Circle, explaining why we organized the Threads of Resistance exhibition, and our feelings about the role of art and artists in our democracy. Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. 

“When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressive creature. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and opens ways for better understanding. Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it and shows there are still more pages possible.” – Robert Henri

Most of my art is “pretty.” I like showing people the miracles I see in the natural world. I think that is because at heart, I am an optimist. I choose to turn my face to the light. Even in troubling times, I try very hard to keep my chin up. 

It’s been hard lately. I look at my country, which I love so much, and I see so much discord and hate and fear. So much failure to communicate. I believe that if we do not figure out how to start listening and talking to each other, our country is doomed. And I believe that art is an essential part of communication.

I am a complex person, and there is more to me than my beautiful fiber art and photographs. I know who I am. I have strong emotions and strong opinions. And I am not afraid to speak them. This, apparently, makes some people angry. Very, very angry.

When I posted the Call for Entries for “Threads of Resistance” on social media, and each time I posted updates, I got nasty comments. Some contained offensive names for our former president, mocked Hillary Clinton, and dripped with vitriol, with tones by turn scornful, angry and jeering. Sadly, the long presidential campaign season has hardened me to this kind of language. It is the language of Donald J. Trump, now made acceptable, and echoed by millions of Americans. I expected it. Im used to it by now. 

What did baffle me were the comments that basically told me that my role was to provide eye candy and keep my mouth shut. That I was using my “platform” to undermine the government,” that quilting and politics should never mix, that I was making people sad or disturbing the sanctity of the peaceful quilting community. Or that I was being unpatriotic by not completely supporting the president or “giving him a chance.”

Ummmmm.... what? Here are my thoughts on those points:

1. It is not my job – or the job of any artist – to make pretty pictures that make people happy. Sure, I do that most of the time. But I also don’t put my head in the sand and ignore what is happening around me. I make art about what moves me emotionally, what I am passionate about. Yes, I keep my face to the light. But I will not ignore the creeping shadows.

2. Quilts can be art. Throughout history, artists have used their work to protest. For a quick look at some protest art, try googling "protest art" images. Women, who have throughout history had fewer options available to them, have long protested in their needlework – embroidery and quilts. One could argue that Betsy Rossfirst American flag was protest art. Women have made quilts in the cause of many protests: temperance, women's suffrage, reproductive rights, anti-war, and civil rights.  
 3. Telling me to keep my mouth shut and my opinions to myself is flat-out intimidation, and it is wrong. It is especially wrong if it is said in a rude or threatening way. It would be very easy for me to keep my mouth shut right now. I am taking a risk, and I know it. I am willing to do it because I think the risks – to me, to my children, to Americans, and to democracy itself – of not speaking out are greater. If I dont speak out, I am complicit.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
– Martin Niemoller (1892-1984), pastor and outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler

4. Protest is patriotic. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official.If Americans had not chosen to protest, we would still be a colony of England. We would still have slavery. People of color and women would not have the right to vote. “Coloredswould still be using separate drinking fountains and bathrooms and going to separate schools. People would not have the right to marry the people they love, regardless of gender. The list goes on and on...

I am not advocating a violent overturn of the government. (One of the commenters suggested that I sided with Madonna, who said that she thought about blowing up the White House. I do not; I think her remark was wrong.) I am merely exercising my right to speak freely through art – a right given to me as an American under the First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

When things that are important to me come under fire – truth, a free press, religious freedom and separation of church and state, the influence of hate groups in government, to name a few – I will always speak up. 

• • • • • 

At its core, art is communication. It is an artist’s way of saying, “Look at this! Please… see what I see!” Sometimes that is beauty. Sometimes it is pain. Sometimes it is a viewpoint. It is my hope that the fiber art in the “Threads of Resistance” exhibition will make people think, make people feel, make people consider another perspective.