Unweaving the Whitewashed Legacy of the Cross-Stitch

Culture October 20, 2021 News
Unweaving the Whitewashed Legacy of the Cross-Stitch

From Architectural Digest by Abigail Glasgow

When you close your eyes and think about needle-based crafts—cross-stitch, needlepoint, embroidery, quilts—what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps it’s one of those patterned, yellow-stained, itchy pillows that your grandmother had scattered throughout her house. Or maybe the image runs deeper, informed by ancestral practices like the quilt making at Gee’s Bend, the small Alabama town famous for a sewing heritage that stems from surviving slavery.

“The misconception is that [cross-stitching] is an all-white artform,” explains Lisa Woolfork, creator of the sewing group Black Women Stitch. Lisa didn’t want her love for what she described as a “a beautifully structured craft practice” to be hindered by the “filters often required of Black people in majority-white spaces”—a sentiment she shares with so many other Black cross-stitchers.

Photo Courtesy Getty Images

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