Archive | anti-war.

Anti-war posts, because more people want love than want war.

Who What Where: Movement of Embroidery for Peace in Mexico

Who: Movement of Embroidery for Peace in Mexico

What: The Movement of Embroidery for Peace in Mexico announced that on Saturday, December 1, 2012, the last day of Felipe Calderón’s term, it will mount exhibits of hundreds of handkerchiefs embroidered with the names of those killed, missing and threatened throughout the administration. These exhibits will be mounted not only in various Mexican cities but abroad. In a statement, the activists said that these pieces of cloth embroidered by bereaved families are “the true memorial to victims of the war against organized crime” and are the symbol with which they want to bid farewell to the Calderón presidency.

Where: Worldwide

Text and photos below from around the blogosphere, click for original article:



The project aims, in their own words, “to embroider hope and memory.” When they get a considerable number of embroidered handkerchiefs, they will be display them in public squares all over the country.

On a warm day during May, a group of women knitting, sitting, talking, draw the attention of onlookers who come closer: three young men from Barcelona, Aram, Gabriel and William.

– What are you doing? – they ask the women.

– We are embroidering for peace-, the women answer in chorus.

– So is it true that you are at war? … –

– Not only at war, they have taken our children … –

They are mothers, sisters and relatives of missing people, who come together in the collective LUPA (Fight for Love, Truth and Justice, Nuevo León), and they meet every Thursday at 10 am, at the kiosk Lucila Sabella, at the Macroplaza in Monterrey.


Teresa Vera is stitching on a side street of the Plaza. Alfredo, a member of the Fuentes Rojas (Red Fountains) movement, embroiders cloth. The threads tell of the unidentified body that was found near the University of Cuernavaca March 5, 2012. “In less than a year there have been more than 60 dead in this city alone. The disappeared are even more,” Alfredo says.

He encourages people to stitch a handkerchief, in a sort of collective embroidery to give names to the number of dead. Teresa’s handkerchief is number 826 of the 63,000 planned to be embroidered all over the country. Their quantity echoes the number of fatal victims in this war for the last six years.

Hanne Bang’s “In a War Someone Has to Die” Project

Chances are high that you have read about this already, somewhere like Mr. X Stitch or Radical Cross Stitch.

However, I wanted to post this for the people who haven’t seen it or who don’t already know about the work of Hanne Bang, as this project introduced me to her, too!

For those that are familiar with what I write, you won’t be surprised to see this. I’m from a military family, have a cross stitch series of anti-war graffiti, and am deeply saddened by what my country is mired in, although do applaud the many kindnesses that have been done by our soldiers without praise or media attention or selfishness.

Growing up my mom always told me, “No one wants peace time like a soldier.” A shortened version of the longer quote by Douglas MacArthur quote.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile now, but recent news events regarding the war have left my heart heavier than it’s been in a long time. And I know, with all my heart, that my mom and MacArthur were right.

Text and photo from here:

This art project is called “In a war someone has to die”.
I am going to find women from all over the world who will be a part of it.

A couple of years ago I happened to zap by a TV program, in which a journalist was interviewing a professional African soldier. To the soldier`s great disappointment he was out of work at the moment – because there was no war in his region. The interviewer asked the soldier if he was afraid of dying, and the soldier said: “No I am not afraid of dying. Are you afraid of dying?” The interviewer answered: “Yes I am afraid of dying”. Then the soldier said, without any sentimentality: “In a war someone has to die”.

This little dialogue, and the words “In a war someone has to die”, returned to me over and over again. Of course I knew that in wars people die, but suddenly I saw the essence of war and the reality of it very clearly. These words are the main element in the art project. I use this sentence – these harsh words – in a feminine expression, as handkerchiefs and embroidery are.

Be a part of this projekt:
I would like to invite you to embroider/sew the text “In a war someone has to die” on a handkerchief. The text has to be in your own language. If you also want to make a symbol or something else on the handkerchief you are of course welcome.The handkerchiefs will eventually be sewn together into a great wall blanket.(hopefully 200-300 handkerchiefs) It is a commentary on the war and an act af solidarity to all those who must send husbands, fathers, sons, daughters and sisters into war. In a war where someone has to die.

Please embroider the tekst on a handkerchief;
“In a war someone has to die” in your own language/mother tongue.
Deadline: june 2012

It is not yet scheduled where it will be exhibited,hopefully internationally. Hanne Bang, Saettedammen 18, 3400 Hillerod, Denmark.

Remember to send me your name and country – for the exhibition catalog.

You can either use one of your own handkerchiefs, or you can write me and I will send you one, in an envelope with a reply coupon, (cost free for you).

Whether you know how to embroider or not is not essential at all. All kind of stitches and handkerchiefs can be used.

If you have any questions you are more than welcome to write here on this page or send me an email.


Craft and War, Old School

Whenever I’m in need of inspiration for something, I can always count on the past. And if you do as well, and you’ve never had a look at the Library of Congress online collection, you might want to. All these photos deal with craft and war. I love how of our cultural current definition of masculinity is challenged a bit in the first photo, a soldier knitting* quietly, with pin up photos in the background. The second and third are two different groups of women, both knitting for “their” soldiers.

Plus, how cool are the uniforms in the second photo?

Interned German, Fort Douglas, knitting scarf

[Note: how much his creation differs from that of German POW Jim Simpson. Not making a political statement, just interesting. Also: I’m not technically sure what the heck the guy above is doing, as it looks more like he’s making friendship bracelets than knitting?]

Women’s National Service School Under Woman’s Section, Navy League, 1916.

Berlin, Knitting for Soldiers

1st and 3rd photographs: Bain Collection, 2nd: Harris & Ewing Collection

Barbara Koenen’s War Rugs Made of Spice

I love how despite seeing thousands upon thousands of images every day, there are still some that cause us to stop, stare and digest. That’s what happened when I came across the piece about the work of Barbara Koenen via a link from The Examiner, which recently had a fantastic interview with Koenen about her work.

From the interview:

DG: How did you come up with the idea of combining the concept of Afghani war rugs with that of sand mandalas?

BK: I was already doing transitory work, as paintings, installations and actions using materials that would deterioriate or be swept away. But when 9/11 happened, I thought about the war rugs and it just made sense as a practice that could begin to respond to the horror of the attack, and bring in some historical context about why it might have happened. The war rugs were a response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1970s. America backed the resistance fighters, supplying weapons and making promises of other support. But the US pulled out after the Soviets left, and the Taliban took over and turned the country into a despotic place. So our betrayal was in some ways responsible for the later attack. It is important for us to understand this, and to work for peace. So, combining the war rug imagery with the Tibetan meditative practice felt like as appropriate a response as I could think of at the time.

What I perhaps love most about Koenen’s work is the way that kitchen ingredients take the place of warp and weft and turn war imagery into something delicate and finite. Strong imagery turned powdery and wispy, shining brighter with the fact that at any moment, the whole piece could be erased with a swipe of a hand or brush.

Given the fact that these rugs tell stories from the lives of Afghans, the high illiteracy rate in Afghanistan and the lack of infrastructure, the real rugs, their real power is also powdery and wispy, as soldiers bring back handcrafted rugs made by Afghans for the soldiers, turning the war into a commodity instead of a backdrop of life. As the rugs leave Afghanistan as souvenirs they disappear into the ether much like spices do when you spill a bit while making pie.

But then again, I’m fascinated with war rugs, with their storytelling, their history, their capturing of culture in a society where history books and museums and archives fade into the background when war is a daily reality. And what better to honor those pieces than Koenen’s rugs, as they perfectly gather those questions and problems with spices and time.

Also, the wonderful and amazing Heather has continued the conversation on the absence of the myth of the tortured crafter over on her blog! Do go check it out and join the conversation!

Being the New Girl

So being the new girl in a new town, I am actually in the process of downloading the first episode of The Mary Tyler Moore show. As I keep hearing “You’re going to make it after all…” (the only part of the theme song I can remember) in my head, I figured it is an excellent theme to this current move.

I may not have a couch yet, but as of this morning I have cutlery. Using a martini glass as a bowl and a measuring spoon as a “regular spoon” (both left by the previous tenant) the other night was fun, but it has since gotten old. Today I was buying cleaners and light bulbs and plates, all things previously bought and shared with old housemate. Thinking about what I could live without for awhile (the “wants”) vs what I really must have in order to keep things clean (the “needs.”), was humbling beyond belief.

Along with not having a couch, I also currently don’t have internet access. So I’m writing this at a lovely cafe in Alexandria (Buzz) listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, my favorite singing combo ever. Not having internet issues means not being able to look up job listings, so as I need a job to have a couch, I’m looking online at various open positions.

While sometimes these searches send you down the rabbit hole, this one has unearthed an extra bonus surprise, the work of Panmela Castro while learning more about the Global Women Entrepreneurs in Handcrafts Development Program offered by Vital Voices.

The website has a lovely write-up about the work Panmela is doing, using graffiti as a way to bring about social change! Although I’m highly biased, it always so inspiring to learn about people using graffiti and street art as tools for positive activism. You can also see the results of the Graffiteras Pela Lei Maria de Penha here.

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