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January 22, 2018

The Kudzu Project featured prominently in a cover story on craftivism in the January 17 edition of Charlottesville's news and arts weekly publication, Cville. The article, titled Fabric of a Resistance, described the evolution of The Kudzu Project from a guerrilla knitting installation on the statue of a Confederate soldier in Charlottesville, to a series of "flash installations" on Confederate monuments throughout Virginia. Writer Erin O'Hare accompanied The Kudzu Project as an embedded reporter during installations at the Nelson and Amherst County courthouses. 

 

O'Hare interviewed the founders of The Kudzu Project and knitters who contributed to the project. She also spoke with Sandra Markus, a professor at Fashion Institute of Technology, who is studying "craftivism" for her doctoral dissertation. Markus described how politically or socially charged messages can seem more acceptable and less threatening when they are rendered in yarn or fabric. As a result, craftivism "might be a more powerful conduit for change than more violent ways of protest."

 

The article also covers guerrilla knitting installations by Rabia Magee and Aileen Bartels, who began yarn bombing Charlottesville's Belmont Park in 2016. Their work became more politically focused following the election of Donald Trump and in response to white supremacist rallies in July and August 2017.

 

These individual acts of resistance add up. Markus says, "I guess knitting one pussycat in isolation doesn't do much, but engaging in craftivism and engaging in the dialogue that surrounds it can change a lot." Following a week of celebrations honoring Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we remember his words, "If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way."

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