Stitched Together – an important discussion from Squam

We wanted to share this incredibly insightful and joyful discussion, hosted by Squam this past July, that centred around issues of non-inclusion and racism that are ingrained in the maker community.

We watched the panel discussion and were very moved by it and therefore felt it was important to share with our audience. It has also made us consider ways in which we can build more connections in the knitting community.

We greatly respect all the women that took part in this panel discussion for their insight and all the effort they put into it. It was a joy to watch it, and made us think. We also give huge thanks to Elizabeth, Meg and Mindy at Squam and for organising this one-day conversation, and for graciously allowing us to link the video here on our blog.

The first half of the program featured guest speaker Tiffany Latrice of TILA Studios, whose company focuses on empowering Black Women Artists in Atlanta.

The second half of the program (which we have focused on) was a panel discussion with Gayle Glasspie, Diane Ivey, Brandi Cheyenne Harper and Mindy Tsonas, and was moderated by Michelle Vitale. (Virginia Johnson was scheduled to join but was unable to attend due to issues with her travel.)

The discussion with these women, and all the wonderful insights they share, starts at around 37 minutes.

Stitched Together panel discussion at Squam 2019
From left to right: Michelle Vitale, Gayle Glasspie, Diane Ivey, Brandi Cheyenne Harper and Mindy Tsonas

The full video can be viewed on Squam’s Vimeo account by clicking through here.

We were able to speak to Mindy, and she gave us some wonderful and thoughtful comments on the day;

Stitched Together, for me, felt like it allowed for a meaningful and important conversation to happen on a deeply personal and individual level, while also bringing to the fore a much needed desire and pathway for healing and moving forward as a community. I can share that the experience of creating space for this to happen was as impactful as the day itself and all that was shared. Every bit was about listening and learning, which to me always seems to light the way.

Mindy Tsonas, @mindytsonas

Gayle, of @ggmadeit, also passed along some comments to us;

I went to that discussion with my heart in my throat. I didn’t know what to expect, yet knew I needed to participate. I was happy to share my voice at a level that forced the listener to listen. 
The panel was needed and it was perfect. 

Gayle Glasspie

Diane has shared some words with us too, for which we are so grateful;

We have had this ongoing conversation since January about diversity, racism, and inclusion on social media. What made this conversation important, was that we were able to sit down and have a thought provoking conversation about these issues from a diverse panel group who all had different perspectives on this issue. I believe it is vital in order to continue to move the conversation forward with action plans, to have more in-person conversations with each other. We still have some way to go but we are headed in the right directions with people collaborating more, starting diversity retreats, designing with all people in mind. Our future looks promising but it’s in our collective hands to work together to make it work.

Diane Ivey, of Lady Dye Yarns

We want to leave you with these words from Squam, which reflect our own feelings towards the panel discussion.

Out of our Stitched Together gathering on Sunday has come a beautiful and important contribution to the continuing conversation on representation, accessibility and inclusion in maker spaces. We are immensely grateful for all that the panelists had to share and we hope that you take the time to listen and reflect on how you can respond to their calls to action.

We invite you to carry this conversation forward, through your own authentic actions and dialogue, in the ways and on the platforms that best suit you.

from Squam’s blog post ‘one day, one conversation

Again, we give heartfelt thanks to all the women who took part in this discussion, and to Squam for kindly letting us share this.

Main photo courtesy of Squam (@squamlove on Instagram). Photo in body text is a still from the Stitched Together video from Squam on Vimeo.

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