Saturday, March 26, 2011

Grandmothers, needlepoint and thoughts on a whole lot of uninformed writing

Recently, Donna posted an article published by The Washington Post that caught my attention.  Maybe I'm fired up because it's on the heels of another article that Ms. Anna (who is keeping track of the white haired lady labels) posted.  (Really?  Languishing in a design wasteland?)  Regardless, I've decided it's time I did something about it.

I have SO had it with all of the grandmother references (not to mention dusty - that really burns my butt) whenever a reporter decides that the entire needleworking world has been remade anew just because he or she has recently found some really cool needlework designs.  Like the designs they've discovered are so much more relevant and attractive. Seriously.  And like the designs they've discovered are totally new to the needlework world.  Feh.  This stuff has been around forever.  How self serving and uninformed is it to say that because it's new to you, it's new to the world?

Ok, let me take a step back here and calm down.

(Taking a breath.)

I mean, on the one hand, I appreciate that our art is getting some press and attention, but on the other hand, does it always have to come with a slap to our history as needleworkers? Because that slap is certainly undeserved. 

Long time stitchers, are we really that easy of a target that we will sit back and let writers describe us as "grandmothers stitching dusty cushions of fusty florals"?  Does any other crafting group let themselves get stepped on the way we seem to be stepped on?  Would quilters put up with this stereotyping?  How about hobbyists, crafters and artists who are non-needleworkers?  Like photographers, chefs, modelers, or potters?  Certainly not.

Do you all remember when Mo Rocca, a contributor to the radio show Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me mentioned that he didn't like homemade sweaters because they were all itchy?  The knitting world rose up and responded like nobody's business and he actually offered an apology.  It's offered tongue-in-cheek, but it the knitters' message seems to have been received loud and clear.

I think that we need to be heard loud and clear, too.  So I responded  to the Washington Post article.  Maybe some of you feel the same way, and if you blog, you probably are pretty good at putting words together effectively and writing your own response when articles of this nature appear.

Now, knowing that I like to be Boss of the World, you may want to sit back and let me respond on all of your behalves.  But I'd encourage you to respond on your own and at best, the articles about us may change.  At worst?  Well, venting about it can feel kind of good.


  1. Brava! Mine was the first comment on the Post's website. I'm tired of stereotypes!

  2. Well said!
    I couldn't agree with you more!

  3. At last, my evil plan comes to fruition.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Long time lurker, first time commenter. I think the author would have gotten a lot more pleasant feedback if she would have titled her artical... "Needlepoint, what was once thought old is new again" or something along those lines. At least we wouldn't be pigeon holed as all grandmothers. Just my 2 cents.

    (sorry about the first post.. no way to edit it after posting)

  6. I just added my 2 cents to the article - grandmothers indeed!

  7. Yes, I am now a grandmother but I began stitching as a child, for heaven's sake! Goodness, I do hate these pigeonholes into which people are put. Good for you, Lee and everyone who responded to the WP!

  8. That article frosts my cookies. Nothing like stereotyping a beautiful craft. No wonder needlework is going the way of the dinosaur. What do you expect with "helpful" articles like that!

  9. I tried to comment on the article and it didn't appear. It says "comments closed." Uh? Anyway, I tried.

  10. Interesting that they closed the comments already. I guess they didn't like having the lack of good journalism pointed out to them. Good response!