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.
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 foot by 3 foot 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 our conversation, she shares details about reimagining in-person knitting circles, funding and exhibiting the project, and the art of knitting as a daring act of social activism. Eve explains the stereotypes that she has to push against when using a domestic handcraft to increase social activism and the goals she has for this unique and powerful project.
- 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)
- “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.”
About My Guest
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.
Eve majored in history at Swarthmore College, and knit several sweaters along the way. While earning a law degree at the University of Chicago she could often be found taking a study break at the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives in Vermont.