• Respect for the other • Citizenship • Compromise
• Courage • Candor • Compassion • Creativity
Core American Values promoted by the Violet Protest
Can we agree on these American values? Artist Ann Merton thought so, and sought to remind the 117th Congressional delegation of their obligations to their constituents. With that, the Violet Protest launched.
Calling out to those who create with textiles, red and blue 8″ squares were gathered in hopes of creating a violet wash of expression. Knitters, weavers, quilters, crocheters, embroiderers, surface design textile artists of all kinds stepped up. More than 2,000 people from all 50 states and many Canadian provinces made at least 5 squares.
I’m one of 229 people in Massachusetts who donated squares.
Did you notice only four squares? As I photographed before sending them off, a flared edge on a knit square caught my eye. I pulled back the bind off and chose a different technique then popped it in the mail! At least it got to Arizona by the deadline.
Creating the five squares was straightforward, in principle. My stash yielded fabric, felt, thread and yarn that fit within the Violet Protest’s framework. But how to best express the seven principles and the message of the protest?
Probably too much energy was spent on this topic. As the deadline neared, my goal switched to imbibing each stitch with the unity, determination and good will of the project. I thanked Congress for their work. I scolded Congress for the divisions that they represent. I gave a pep talk and promimsed to do my best to embody those values in my civic life. And I finished those squares within the framework, by the deadline.
Squares that reached Arizona by January were included in an exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum. It looked glorious, and yet not all of the 13,500 squares donated had arrived yet.
After the exhibit, Ann and the team packed up 24-25 squares and an explanation of the project for each of our 435 members of Congress.
Did the Representatives see them? Did they feel them? Will they feel the mandate demanded?
We don’t know yet. But each of us can hold those values to guide our own behaviors. There’s a lot to do, and each of us can contribute to civic life.
Thank you, Ann, for working so hard to create this project. She hopes to make a documentary about the Violet Protest, and if you’d like, you can donate to that effort.