Documentary "In Stitches" Looks At The Gendering of Art Forms


Fashion historian Amber Butchart looks back at the cross between sexism and fiber art through her documentary, In Stitches. In art history, art forms that used textiles were gendered and seen as domestic work rather than art. Butchart claims that this division began in the Renaissance, as mediums such as paintings and sculpture were associated with masculinity and held to a higher regard, while textiles were seen as craft. In In Stitches, Butchart explores the contemporary artists challenging these historical notion and making political work in fibers. Through the documentary, she retells hidden stories while questioning the hierarchy of art and craft.

For Further Reading

To listen to In Stitches, visit BBC Sounds.

Discussion Question

Do you believe that fiber arts are getting more recognition in today’s world? Or are they still seen as domestic work?


Action Item

Next time you are at an art gallery or museum, look to see how many works are textiles or fiber art. Ask yourself why there may or may not be many on display.


Read more on Frieze | Image: Anni Albers, Intersecting, 1962, pictorial weaving, cotton and rayon, 400 x 419 mm. Courtesy: The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, DACS, London.