Hinda Mandell

CBAA Community Book Art Series Presenter, 12/10/2022

Title: The Yarn Must LiveFrom parking lot to the pretty page: Transforming activism IRL to a visual book


Hinda Mandell, Ph.D., is Professor in the School of Communication at RIT in New York, where she is the director of the university’s journalism program. Mandell is editor of Crafting Dissent: Handicraft as Protest from the American Revolution to the Pussyhats (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019); co-curator and co-editor of Crafting Democracy: Fiber Arts and Activism (RIT Press, 2019); a co-editor of Nasty Women and Bad Hombres: Gender and Race in the 2016 US Presidential Election (University of Rochester Press, 2018); the author of Sex Scandals, Gender and Power in Contemporary American Politics (Praeger, 2017); and co-editor of Scandal in a Digital Age (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). As a journalist, her work has been published in Politico, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The LA Times, among other publications. Her scholarly inquiries into collaborative handcraft as change-agents have been published in Craft Research, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, and forthcoming in the Journal of Feminist Scholarship. She is on the international advisory board of the Journal of Craft & Communities, and her research has been funded by the Center for Craft and Fiber Art Now. In 2020 she was a guest artist with Visual Studies Workshop, whose residency funded the production of her artist book, “The Yarn Must Live: A Polemic on a Pandemic and Public Art,” which was acquired by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in 2021. Since 2017, she has organized maker interventions on issues of social reform tied to geographic place reaching 2,000 craft participants. She is on Instagram: @crochetactivism (https://www.instagram.com/crochetactivism/?hl=en).Contact: hbmgpt@rit.edu.


“From parking lot to the pretty page: Transforming activism IRL to a visual book” explores why an artist book fittingly serves as a physical legacy to preserve less-tangible activist work. The artist book at the center of this talk, “The Yarn Must Live: A Polemic on a Pandemic and Public Art,” acknowledges historic erasure of the 19th-century social-reform group, The Rochester Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Sewing Society, and the progressive work they engaged in at Corinthian Hall, which first fell victim to a fire and then urban renewal. Today, the former site of Corinthian Hall exists as a parking lot to a Holiday Inn located in the heart of the city’s financial and legal district. Starting in 1862, and until the American Civil War, the “Rochester Ladies” hosted annual fundraising bazaars at Corinthian Hall during the winter holiday season to showcase the handcraft of international abolitionists in support of the famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who was the primary recipient of the Rochester Ladies’ social-reform commitments. This book chronicles a large-scale yarn installation I oversaw at the former location of Corinthian Hall – a reformist gathering and lecture space. “The Yarn Must Live” was published in April 2020 through a virtual artist residency at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. By showcasing an artist book not only as a beautiful object but also as a physical platform and a visual catalogue for activist work that is easily disseminated in In Real Life social networks, we can better understand – and reconfigure – this medium in service to activist efforts.


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software