October 29, 2020 | Alyson Stanfield

Knit Democracy Together with Eve Jacobs-Carnahan

At the intersection of craftivism and the world of campaign finance is Eve Jacobs-Carnahan. Eve is taking the historical practice of knitting circles and re-envisioning them as modern craftivist assemblies.

While bringing artists together to craft the building blocks of a characteristic state capitol building, she’s also leading conversations about changing the role of money in election campaigns. But the impact that Eve is going to make with this work is going to extend far beyond the current election cycle. In fact, it has very little to do with it.

©2020 Eve Jacobs-Carnahan, maquette for Knit Democracy Together. Yarns, wool felt, knitting needles, stuffing, cardboard, rigid foam, 15 x 29 x 14 inches.

Kicking off in early 2020, Knit Democracy Together combines interested organizations, knitting circles, and conversation about election finance reform. The result will be a 5'x3′ knitted sculpture of a state capitol building that Eve hopes to exhibit in multiple venues.

The pandemic has certainly had an effect on Eve’s plans, but it hasn’t stopped her.

In this episode of the Art Biz Podcast, she shares details about how she has had to reimagine the previously scheduled in-person knitting circles, funding and exhibiting the project, and the art of knitting as a daring act of social activism.

Listen


Music by Wildermiss.

Highlights

  • Eve shares the objectives and the vision behind Knit Democracy Together. (2:43)
  • The effect of COVID-19 on Eve’s plan for in-person knitting circles. (7:11)
  • How Eve found people to participate in the project. (10:26)
  • Details about the yarn and the sculpture dimensions. (14:48)
  • The campaign funding message that Eve is working to increase awareness about. (17:26)
  • Funding the project and what Eve learned from each declined request. (25:07)
  • Questions surrounding the exhibition stage of the project. (27:07)
  • Understanding knitting as a daring act of social activism. (28:37)
  • How Eve is leading a group project while remaining politically neutral. (32:27)
  • Collaborating in a community project just might mean letting go of total control. (34:33)
  • Steps that will move the Knit Democracy Together project to the next level. (41:10)

Selection of building blocks made by participants in Knit Democracy Together knitting circles.

Quotes

“People are cynical about elections, but there are ways to improve the system rather than throwing the whole thing out.”

“We are a community made up of all these different people, but together we can do something bigger.”

“The goal of all of this is to get people to care more and be able to participate in the election process more than before.”

“A lot of knitted art is activist art. It’s a tool for social action.”

“You have to push against stereotypes when you use any textile art, especially with knitting.”

Mentioned

Old Stone House Museum in Brownington, VT

Alexander Twilight at Middlebury

Katharine Cobey craftivism

Cat Mazza's Nike Blanket Petition collaborative piece

Related Episodes

Multiply Your Exhibition Audience with Collaborative Programs with Jill Powers

Multi-State Multi-Year Multi-Artist Art Project with Marilyn Artus

About My Guest

Eve in her studio with Ready, a piece in a series of green herons.

Eve Jacobs-Carnahan makes knitted sculpture. Using the comforting qualities of knitting she explores human interactions with nature, democracy, and society.

Eve’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States, receiving regional and national awards. Her work appears in Lela Nargi’s survey of knitted art, Astounding Knits! 101 Spectacular Knitted Creations and Daring Feats. She loves the notion of knitting as a daring act. When not engaged in such audacious pursuits, she can be found digging in her garden or cross-country skiing through the woods. Both activities put her in touch with the plants and birds that appear in her sculptures.

See Eve's art on her website and visit KnitDemocracy.org to see more about the project.

Follow Eve on Instagram: @ejcarnahan.

Music by Wildermiss.

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one response add a comment
  • Very inspiring, educational, and informative podcast! I didn’t know that Eve was a government lawyer before. No wonder that she is a great communicator, and I enjoyed listening about her Knit Democracy Together Project. So apt and impactful to listen to especially during this election year. I learned about the variations in campaign financing, how the knitting circle group is interactive and engaging, and about the art of knitting itself and its significance. Looking forward to her updates on the project next year! Thank You, Alyson & Eve!

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