Auntie Elena is one of the few aunties in her state of Ohio. Prior to joining our ranks, Elena didn’t know how to sew, but as an artist and a professor of photography, she embraced her creative side and now includes a signature “rage stitch” in all the masks she masks.
“When I first joined ASS, I didn’t know how to sew, I just used thread in my work to make giant things like this: https://www.elenakdahl.com/indelible-in-the-hippocampus. I decided to use the pink thread leftover from that project to learn a new skill while contributing to a meaningful effort. My sewing is slow, especially now that I’ve gone back to face to face teaching, but I’m proud to have sewn over 250 masks and counting for ASS and that my sewing has now become as instinctual a process as working a camera.
Like many others, I have been documenting my finished masks through photography, arranging my masks in careful configurations inspired by my fellow aunties’ work. I love the comment feed on the [‘Show off Your Work’ tagged group posts;] there is so much delight and support there, which we desperately need with our lives so shaken up by this pandemic. It has meant a lot to be able to communicate this way with folks I’ve never met yet feel intimately connected to.
This experience has taught me that craft is political just as art is political. All of my masks feature a signature ‘rage stitch’ where the elastic is attached; a frantic little lightning bolt that visually expresses the anger I feel on behalf of those for whom we sew, anger that our government has failed to protect the most vulnerable of its citizens. I am grateful for ASS because it gives me hope that another world, one based in mutual aid and radical care, is possible and is in fact already here!”