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About Laura Elizabeth Sapelly
Affectionately known as "Doc Sap," Laura teaches about the power and beauty of "women's" work. In her School of Storied Stitching, she blends her fine art and women's history training so that students can learn the skill of "improv" sewing--and about the extraordinary women holding the needles! An award-winning teacher and scholar, Laura has taught courses for Penn State and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has also exhibited her art throughout the US.
Laura earned a BFA in Fashion at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, an ALM in History at Harvard, an MFA in Fiberarts at Umass Dartmouth, and her PhD in Art Education and Women's Studies at The Pennslyvania State University. She enjoys hanging out with her artsy friends while writing, sewing, running, walking, and doing LOTS of yoga while living in Chicago, IL.
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Pussyhats, typically crafted with yarn, quite literally created a sea of pink the day after Donald J. Trump became the 45th president of the United States in January 2017, as the inaugural Women’s March unfolded throughout the U.S., and sister cities globally.
But there was nothing new about women crafting as a means of dissent.
Crafting Dissent: Handicraft as Protest from the American Revolution to the Pussyhats is the first book that demonstrates how craft, typically involving the manipulation of yarn, thread and fabric, has also been used as a subversive tool throughout history and up to the present day, to push back against government policy and social norms that crafters perceive to be harmful to them, their bodies, their families, their ideals relating to equality and human rights, and their aspirations. At the heart of the book is an exploration for how craft is used by makers to engage with the rhetoric and policy shaping their country’s public sphere.
The book is divided into three sections: "Crafting Histories," Politics of Craft," and "Crafting Cultural Conversations."
Three features make this a unique contribution to the field of craft activism and history:
- The inclusion of diverse contributors from a global perspective (including from England, Ireland, India, New Zealand, Australia)
- Essay formats including photo essays, personal essays and scholarly investigations
- The variety of professional backgrounds among the book’s contributors, including academics, museum curators, art therapists, small business owners, provocateurs, artists and makers.
This book explains that while handicraft and craft-motivated activism may appear to be all the rage and “of the moment,” a long thread reveals its roots as far back as the founding of American Democracy, and at key turning points throughout the history of nations throughout the world.